Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "Life and letters of Edgar Allan Poe"

See other formats










of the University of Virginia 


p, Crcrtoell & Co, 


Copyright, 1902 and 1903, by 



Editor s Preface .......... vii 

CHAPTER I. 1809-1824. 

Poe s Ancestry, Birth, and Earlier Years at Rich 

mond : School-Days in England and Virginia . i 

CHAPTER II. 1826. 
Poe s Environment at the University of Virginia . 35 

CHAPTER III. 1827-1829. 
The Early Poems. The Legendary Years . . 64 

CHAPTER IV. 1829-1830. 
At West Point. The Poems of 1 8 3 1 . __ 1 _ 1 ___ fc ~__ 2 

CHAPTER V. 1831-1836. 

The Dark Years. The Baltimore " Visiter " and 

Latrobe s Reminiscences. Marriage ... 96 

CHAPTER VI. 1837-1840. 
Adrift : New York and Philadelphia .... 120 


CHAPTER VII. 1840-1844. . 


Philadelphia: New York; Burton s " Gentle 
man s Magazine ;" tf Graham s Magazine " . 153 

CHAPTER VIII. 1844-1845. 
New York ; " The Broadway Journal " . . . 187 

CHAPTER IX. 1845. 
"The Raven" 213 

CHAPTER X. 1845. 

Tales : Poems; Longfellow War; End of "The 

Broadway Journal " 228 

CHAPTER XI. 1846. 
Social and Literary Life in New York : The Literati 241 

CHAPTER XII. 1846-1847. 
P ordham : The Death of Virginia Poe .... 252 

"Eureka" 269 

Mrs. Whitman; " The Bells ;" Mrs. Osgood . 281 

CHAPTER XV. 1848-1849. 
"Stella." "Annie." Philadelphia . . . . 299 




Last Days in Richmond 310 


In Baltimore : The End 327 


Foe s Autobiography 343 

Mrs. ClemnVs Preface to the Griswold Edition . 347 

The "Ludwig Article" (R. W. Griswold) . . 348 

Death of Edgar A. Poe (N. P. Willis) ... 360 

Edgar Allan Poe (J. R. Lowell) 367 

Edgar A. Poe (P. Pendleton Cooke) . . . . 383 

The Late Edgar A. Poe (John R. Thompson) . 392 

Defence of Poe (George R. Graham) . . . 399 

Index 411 

Index to Appendix 427 

Bibliography of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe 431 


THE present two volumes, devoted to the Life and 
Letters of Edgar Allan Foe, have their justification 
from several points of view. They have to deal with 
one of the foremost if not the foremost of literary 
figures in America. They give a new picture of the 
author s habits and works. They represent original 
research and the accumulation of important material 
from widely scattered or generally inaccessible places. 
And, aside from their value, they tell the story of a 
strange, romantic life. 

The biography is justified by recently discovered 
letters and facts which substantiate many things and 
disprove many others. Through inquiry and corre 
spondence with Poe s still surviving contemporaries, 
new light has been thrown on the poet s early and 
middle life. Many important articles, moreover, have 
appeared in the periodical press in the last decade, and 
their substance has been utilized in this volume. 

A perusal of the Life side by side with the Letters 
now for the first time collected will prove thorough 
going and of unusual interest. After reading a chapter 
in the life-story, the letters from Poe and to Poe, per 
taining to that period, will gleam with hidden meaning 
and human feeling. In this way, it is hoped, the 


publication of this Life and these Letters conjointly will 
be of service to the world of literature. 

The story of Poe s life has been subject to so many 
errors, popular fallacies, and editorial misstatements, 
that a true and unbiassed account of it is difficult to 
set forth. The present volume is the result of much 
delving among original material and first-hand sources. 
The effort, throughout, has been to present the man 
as he was, neither deified by over-admiring friends nor 
vilified by over-zealous enemies. 

Poe s autobiographic "Memorandum," found 
among Dr. R. W. Griswold s papers, is printed from 
the original MS., through the courtesy of Mrs. Wm. 
M. Griswold. Its inaccuracies are brought out in an 
editorial note. It will be found in the Appendix, 
together with several articles by the poet s contempo 

Letters quoted in the Life are not repeated in the 
volume of Letters, but are referred to in their proper 
chronological place. 

These two volumes were originally prepared for a 
complete edition of Poe s Works, in seventeen volumes, 
known as the <f Virginia Edition." In the General 
Preface to that edition, the editor makes grateful ac 
knowledgment to biographers, editors, librarians, and 
other generous assistants whose active co-operation was 
essential to the completion of the work. To the 
authors of lives or memorials of Poe Messrs. G. E. 
Woodberry, J. H. Ingram, W. F. Gill, R. H. Stod- 
dard, E. L. Didier, J. G. Wilson, and Miss S. S. 
Rice especial thanks are due. 



EDGAR ALLAN POE Frontispiece 

From painting, by Samuel S. Osgood, owned by the 
New York Historical Society. 


Mother of Edgar Allan Poe. From a miniature in the 
possession of J. H. Ingram. 


From a silhouette. 


Poe s room, No. 13, is back of the second arch to 
the left of the letter-box. The room at the extreme 
right of the picture (in the other building) is also 
claimed to be Poe s room. 

FACULTY RECORD FOR DEC. 20, 1826 ... 56 

Containing an examination into the charge that the 
University of Virginia hotel-keepers drank and gam 
bled with students. 

FACULTY RECORD FOR DEC. 20, 1826 ... 58 

Containing an examination into the charge that the 
University of Virginia hotel-keepers drank and gam 
bled with students. 


University of Virginia. ( Excelled in Latin. ) 




University of Virginia. (Excelled in Senior French 
Class. ) 

TAMERLANE. (Titlepage) 65 

AL AARAAF. (Titlepage) 74 


From a small, white marble bust carved in Naples, here 
reproduced by the courtesy of Mrs. G. W. Mayo, 
Mrs. Allan s niece. 

POEMS, 1831. (Titlepage) 94 


Father of Virginia Poe. From an engraving in the 
possession of Amelia F. Poe. 


RICHMOND, VA. (1902) n8 

Poe edited the "Messenger" here from December, 
1836, to January, 1837. The back building ad 
joining was occupied by Allan & Ellis, tobacconists, 
the firm in which Poe s " foster-father " was senior 


From engraving, by Armstrong, of portrait by Read 


From engraving. 

CONCHOLOGIST S FIRST BOOK. (Titlepage) . . 146 


Mrs. Clemm s daughter and the wife of Edgar Allan 
Poe. Reproduced from a photograph of a water- 
color sketch in the possession of Amelia F. Poe. 
Copyright, 1893, by Amelia F. Poe. 



Poe s mother-in-law. From daguerreotype taken in 
Lowell in 1849. 


From engraving by Capewell and Kimmell. 

THE RAVEN. (Titlepage) 213 


From engraving. 


Where he resided, 184649. 


THE BELLS. (Facsimile of original MSS.) . . 286 


From an engraving by Charles Skinner, after a painting 
by C. J. Thompson. Reproduced by permission of 
the Whitman heirs. 


From photograph by Edyth Carter Beveridge, Rich 
mond, Va. 






WHEN he was five-and-twenty years old Edgar Allan 
Poe wrote the following letter to his life-long friend 
Kennedy, author of " Swallow Barn," (< Horseshoe 
Robinson," etc., and afterwards Secretary of the Navy 
under President Fillmore, in 1852 : 

BALTIMORE, November, 1834. 

DEAR SIR : I have a favor to beg of you which I 
thought it best to ask in writing, because, sincerely, I 
had not courage to ask it in person. I am indeed too 
well aware that I have no claim whatever to your atten 
tion, and that even the manner of my introduction to your 
notice was at the best equivocal. Since the day you first 
saw me, my situation in life has altered materially. At 
that time I looked forward to the inheritance of a large 
fortune, and, in the meantime, was in receipt of an annu 
ity for my support. This was allowed me by a gentle 
man of Virginia (Mr. Jno. Allan) who adopted me at 
VOL. i. i 


the age of two years (both my parents being dead), and 
who, until lately, always treated me with the affection of 
a father. But a second marriage on his part, and I dare 
say many follies on my own, at length ended in a quarrel 
between us. He is now dead, and has left me nothing. 
I am thrown entirely upon my own resources, with no 
profession and very few friends. Worse than all this, I 
am at length penniless. Indeed no circumstances less 
urgent would have induced me to risk your friendship by 
troubling you with my distresses. But I could not help 
thinking that if my situation was stated as you could 
state it to Carey & Lea, 1 they might be led to aid me 
with a small sum in consideration of my MS. now in 
their hands. This would relieve my immediate wants, 
and I could then look forward more confidently to better 
days. At all events receive the assurance of my grati 
tude for what you have already done. 

Most respectfully, your obedient servant, 


This letter is an epitome in brief of Poe s whole 
career, containing as it does indubitable data as to 
his early life, intimations of his marvellous precocity 
(second only to that of Shelley, Heine, Keats, or 
Hugo), and indications of the long-lasting misery in 
which his short life (also like that of Shelley and 
Keats) was to be spent. 

Poe, the poet Virginian, as he loved to call himself 
"I am a Virginian, at least I call myself one, 
for I have resided all my life, until within the last 
few years, in Richmond," he says to his friend F. W. 
Thomas was born in Boston, January 19, 1809. 

1 In a note Mr. Kennedy explains : " This refers to the volume 
of Tales sent to Carey & Lea Tales of the Arabesque, etc., 
being two series submitted for the prize, for which one was chosen, 
and two others at my suggestion sent to Carey & Lea." J. P. K. 


He was not "born in Baltimore, in January, 181 1," l 
as Griswold s memoir puts it, perhaps following a 
wrong date given by Poe himself, repeating the 
statement in "Prose Writers of America " (second 
edition: Philadelphia, Carey & Hart, 1847) ; an 
error enlarged unintentionally by James Russell Lowell 
in the February number of Graham s Magazine, i 845, 
who says that "Mr. Poe was then [1845] about 
thirty-two years of age " and " still in the prime of 
life." In his later years Poe either could not or 
would not tell the truth about his age. 

The fact is however undeniable that Poe was born 
in Boston, disagreeable as the fact was to him "all 
through his life, and that his first volume the 
famous "Tamerlane and Other Poems," of 1827 
bore on its titlepage, " By a Bostonian," in capital 

With the peculiar perversity with which children 
sometimes rail at their mothers, however, Poe per 
petually railed at Boston and treated her as the unfor 
tunate noverca of the Roman plays ; and Boston in 
return has avenged herself on her wayward child by 
bringing railing accusations against him and supplying 
for him an endless chain of embittered biographers. 

The biographers of Poe are indebted to Mr. John 
H. Ingram 2 for the surest testimony, obtained from 
the poet s family in Baltimore, as to his ancestry. 

" There is no good reason," says John P. Poe, 
Esq., of Baltimore, " to suppose that the ancestors of 

1 Edgar A. Poe s Miscellaneous Works, Redfield, New York, 
1849, p. xxiii. 

2 Edgar Allan Poe : His Life, Letters, and Opinions : By John 
H. Ingram : London, 1880 : John Hogg : 2 vols. : p. 245, 
Vol. H., W. F. Gill (London, 1878), pp. 9-20. 


Edgar A. Poe were descended from the Le Poers 
[the Anglo-Norman family who passed from Italy to 
France, and from France to England, Wales, and 
Ireland, and with whom Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, 
the poet s fiancee in 1848 connected her own and 
Poe s progenitors]. John Poe, the progenitor of the 
family in America, emigrated from the north of Ire 
land a number of years before the Revolution, and 
purchased a farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 
whence he afterwards removed to Cecil County, 
Maryland. At the time of the Revolution he was 
residing at Baltimore. His wife was Jane McBride, 
believed to be a sister [not a daughter, as frequently 
stated] of James McBride, Admiral of the Blue, and 
M. P. for Plymouth in 1785." 

Mrs. Clemm, Poe s aunt and mother-in-law, says, 
" My father was born in Ireland, but his parents left 
there when he was only six weeks old, and he was so 
patriotic that he never would acknowledge he was any 
other than an American. He lived in Baltimore from 
the time of the Revolution ; he took my mother there 
from Pennsylvania, a bride." x 

General David Poe, the poet s grandfather, was a 
distinguished veteran of the American Revolution, a 
devoted friend of Lafayette (for whose ragged troops 
in 1781 Mrs. Poe personally cut out and superin 
tended the manufacture of five hundred garments), 
and quartermaster-general of the American forces in 

David, the eldest son of General Poe, was the 
poet s father. 

Beverley Tucker, the well-known contributor to 
The Southern Literary Messenger and author of " The 

1 Ingram, Vol. II., p. 249 seq. 


Partizan Leader," wrote in 1835 that he "remem 
bered Poe s beautiful mother when a girl." 

This beautiful girl had elements of the sprite about 
her, being a "girl without a country," born in mid- 
ocean while her English mother was journeying across 
the Atlantic from England to America, and she possessed 
rare talents for singing, dancing, and acting. No one 
can look at the portrait of Elizabeth Arnold (for such 
was her maiden name) without seeing in it foreshadow- 
ings of those ethereal Eleonoras and Ligeias that haunted 
the poet s dreams with their delicate impalpabilities, 
their Indian-summer-like vagueness : the childlike 
figure, the great, wide open, mysterious eyes, the 
abundant curling hair confined in the quaint bonnet of 
a hundred years ago and shadowing the brow in raven 
masses, the high waist and attenuated arms clasped in 
an Empire robe of faint, flowered design, the tiny but 
rounded neck and shoulders, the head proudly erect. 
It is the face of an elf, a sprite, an Undine who was 
to be the mother of the most elfish, the most unearthly 
of poets, whose luminous dark-gray eyes had a glint 
of the supernatural in them and reflected, as he says in 
one of his earliest poems, " the wilder d " nature of 
the man. 

Rich currents of Irish, Scotch, English, and Ameri 
can blood ran together in his palpitating veins and pro 
duced a psychic blend unlike that of any other American 
poet : Celtic mysticism, Irish fervor, Scotch melody, 
the iris-tipped fantasy of the Shelleys and the Cole- 
ridges, and the independence and alertness of the trans 
atlantic American into whom all the Old- World 
characteristics had been born, on whom all these 
treasures of music and imagination, of passion and 
mystery had been bestowed by some fairy godmother. 


Elizabeth Arnold was a widow when she married 
David Poe, Jr., in 1805, her first husband having 
been the light comedian C. D. Hopkins. He died in 
October, 1805, and the Poe marriage followed shortly 
after. Mr. George E. Woodberry, in his painstaking 
biography, 1 traces out the Bohemian wanderings of 
grandmother Arnold, Elizabeth Arnold, Mrs. Hopkins, 
David Poe, and Elizabeth Arnold Poe, from Maine to 
Charleston and from New York ar\d Boston to Rich 
mond, Washington, Norfolk, and Petersburg, where 
the gay little company (sad enough at times) performed 
all sorts of pieces in which the arch, roguish, Ariel-like 
nature of Mrs. Poe drew the attention of critics, and in 
which her great versatility now enabled her to imper 
sonate tender Ophelias and Cordelias, Palmyras and 
Sigismundas, now to sing and dance Polish minuets to 
David Poe s reels and horn-pipes. 

Mr. Woodberry has killed the elopement slander : 
there was no elopement ; and David Poe was simply 
a wayward, handsome, theatre-loving young gallant 
of twenty-five who joined the Hopkins Company in 
1804, and became a strolling player like Will Shak- 
spere and Jean Poquelin Moliere, giving up forever his 
law-books and his uncle s home in Augusta, Georgia, 
in favor of the boards. 

After their marriage the two became "Virginia 
Comedians," and the career of the couple may be traced 
in the various gazettes and periodicals of the time, 
especially in the so-called " elegant literature " of the 

At length a stop in Boston came to the wan 
derings : January 19, 1809, Mrs. Poe did not appear 
but Edgar did ! 

1 Edgar Allan Poe : American Men of Letters, pp. 114. 


Three weeks after, the poor little woman whose 
great eyes look out on us so wistfully from the minia 
ture so passionately beloved by her son was singing 
and dancing again merrily before the Boston boards, 
with that merriment that must have been nigh to 
heart-break, for she was now the mother of two little 
sons, William Henry Leonard and Edgar (followed 
two years later by Rosalie Poe) , with no steady or 
reliable means of support, and her husband probably 
already attacked by consumption. All her life the 
mother engaged in a life-and-death struggle with pov 
erty and penury, like her gifted son : all their lives 
mother and son were entangled in that vast Disaster 
which came to such thrilling expression in " The 
Raven," sinking in " desperate seas " of misery and 
succumbing at last to the storm and stress of life, the 
one in Richmond, the other in Baltimore. 

" For my little son Edgar, who should ever love 
Boston, the place of his birth, and where his mother 
found her best and most sympathetic friends " : such 
are the words 1 written in delicate caligraphy by the 
mother on the back of a little picture which she 
painted and bequeathed to her son ; words, however, 
written before the final tragedy, a fore-knowledge of 
which would perhaps have substituted Richmond for 
Boston, and the lifelong Virginia friends for the casual 
Boston theatre acquaintances. 

It is singular that some of these Boston friends had 
the names of Usher and Wilson, names afterwards so 
celebrated in the tales of the author. 

The year 1 8 1 1 found the players in Richmond, 
Virginia, if, indeed, David Poe was at this time 
living, which is at least doubtful. Little Rosalie (who 

1 Ingram, I., 6. 


lived until 1874 an< ^ died in the Epiphany Church 
Home at Washington, D. C., an object of charity) 
came after her father s death to add to the troubles 
and distresses of the mother. 

The two short years which Edgar Poe had already 
lived had been signalized by some remarkable things : 
the year of his birth was indeed an Annus Mirabilis. 
His favorite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Barrett (to whom, 
as " the noblest of her sex" he dedicated " The 
Raven and Other Poems" in 1845) and Alfred 
Tennyson ("the greatest poet that ever lived") 
were born in that year ; Charles Darwin, who revo 
lutionized science, and Chopin and Mendelssohn, 
the great musicians ; Abraham Lincoln, the great 
Southern emancipator ; Gladstone, the famous orator ; 
Fanny Kemble, the subtle interpreter of Shakspere ; 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, the wit and poet, formed 
an illustrious galaxy of new-born children -contempo 
raries of Poe, making the year i 809, when Madison 
was president, Metternich prime minister of Austria, 
and the Battle of Wagram was fought, a starred year 
in the historic calendar. 

No tragedy in later times is more fraught with in 
finite pathos than the sufferings and death of the Poes 
in 1 8 1 1 . Travelling in those days was exceedingly 
difficult and dangerous, accompanied by all the incon 
veniences, not to say horrors, of the old " Conti 
nental " stage-coach system, terrible roads, and inter 
minable distances. From 1805, when their marriage 
took place, the Poes incessantly travelled from 
Boston to New York, from New York to Philadelphia, 
Washington, far South to distant Charleston, Norfolk, 
Richmond, back to New York again, flitting like 
wandering birds from bough to bough, in hopes of an 


engagement, rolling over the country in the wretched 
vehicles of the time, encumbered with theatrical bag 
gage and two forlorn little babes (sometimes left with 
Baltimore relatives). 

With the mighty will of Ligeia, which in more 
than one trait appears to be the life of Foe s mother 
wrought into a strange and tender story, the delicate 
woman moves in her appointed task, determined to 
support herself and her children, until she reached 
Richmond, Virginia, in August, 1 8 1 1 . All these 
years it had been romantic and sentimental drama, 
song, dance, light comedy ; Mrs. Poe had represented 
nymphs and Ariels and cupids, distressed Ophelias and 
Shaksperian Desdemonas. Now, it was tragedy, 
pure and simple starvation death. 

After Rosalie s birth the mother fell into a swift de 
cline, beginning to waste and fade like a waxen taper 
before the inward burnings of consumption. Never 
surrendering or giving up hope, she went on announc 
ing and acting until the destitution of the family 
attracted somehow the charitable attention of the Rich 
mond ladies : benefits were arranged by the kind- 
hearted players ; and at last the following card 
appeared in the Enquirer for November 29, 1811 : l 


" On this night Mrs. Poe, lingering on the bed of dis 
ease and surrounded by her children, asks your assistance, 
and asks it, perhaps, for the last time. The generosity 
of a Richmond audience can need no other appeal. For 
particulars see the bills of the day. 1 

1 The author is indebted to Dr. Wm. Hand Browne for these 
clippings, which are accurately reprinted. 


A few days later, on a date very near the happy 
and blessed Christmas time, the time of supremely 
happy mothers and loving children, the curtain rose for 
the last time on the final act of the tragedy of David 
Poe and Elizabeth Arnold : 

" DECEMBER 10, 1811. 

" Died, on last Sunday morning, Mrs. Poe, one of 
the actresses of the company at present playing on the 
Richmond boards. By the death of this lady the stage 
has been deprived of one of its chief ornaments j and to 
say the least of her, she was an interesting actress, and 
never failed to catch the applause and command the ad 
miration of the beholder." Enquirer, December 10, 

If, as Mr. Gill asserts, 1 the father died three days 
later of the same dread disease, the cup of suffering 
must have overflowed and the orphaned children been 
desolate indeed. The Gill Biography further con 
tains an unsupported statement (Appendix, 319) that 
" Mr. Allan and Mr. Mackenzie, both wealthy and 
benevolent Scotch gentlemen, having been informed 
that the Poes were in great distress, sought them out 
to afford them relief. They were found in wretched 
lodgings, lying upon a straw-bed, and very sick, Mr. 
Poe with consumption, and his wife with pneumonia. 
There was no food in the house. They had no 
money or fuel, and their clothes had been pawned 
or sold. 

" Two little children were with the parents, in the 
care of an old Welsh woman who had come over 
from England with Mrs. Poe, and who was understood 
to be her mother. The children were half-clad, half- 

1 Life of Edgar A. Poe, p. 20 ; Chatto & Windus : 1878. 


Mother of Edgar Allan Poe,from a miniature in the 
possession of J. H. Ingram. 


starved, and very much emaciated. { The youngest 
was in a stupor, cailsed by feeding on bread steeped in 
gin. The old woman acknowledged that she was in 
the habit of so feeding them, to keep them quiet and 
make them strong. **j 

This account has drily too many touches of verisimil 
itude in it. 

And the author adds : " Mr. Mackenzie, shocked 
at this spectacle, took the children to his own house, 
where they were tenderly cared for. A few days 
wrought a great change in their appearance, and the 
beauty and intelligence of little Edgar became a subject 
of universal comment. William Henry, the elder 
brother, had already been sent to his grandfather 
[General PoeJ in Baltimore." 

Two weeks and two days later, after Mrs. Poe had 
been laid to rest in a now unknown grave in one of 
the beautiful Richmond cemeteries, the Broad Street 
Theatre where Mr. Placide s gay little company of 
Virginia Comedians had so merrily pranced and 
capered, was consumed in the awful conflagration of 
Christmas Eve, 1811, in which the governor of Vir 
ginia and sixty other persons of high social distinction 
perished ; and from its ashes rose the Monumental 
Church in memory of the tragic event. 

The tragedy quoted in The Conqueror Worm could 
not have been more sudden and terrible : 

"Lo ! tis a gala night 

Within the lonesome latter years : 
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight 

In veils, and drowned in tears, 
Sit in a theatre to see 

A play of hopes and fears, 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully 

The music of the spheres. 


Can the exquisite yet awful imagery of this poem, 
full as it is of theatre memories, mimes, puppets, 
shifting scenery, funereal curtains, phantom forms, 
have twined itself somehow about the memory of his 
mother in connection with the burning of the Rich 
mond Theatre, about which all Virginia never ceased 
to talk for half a century, and which sent a thrill of 
horror all over the United States ? Little Edgar must 
often have heard it discussed, and must have watched 
the memorial church as it slowly rose out of the grave 
of the theatre where his mother had charmed the Rich 
mond audiences with her beauty and grace so many 
times long before. 1 

It is asserted that only an accident kept the Allans 
from the theatre that evening. 


RICHMOND, Virginia, is one of the most beautiful 
places in the old Commonwealth renowned for beauti 
ful sites. Founded more than one hundred and fifty 
years ago, it got its name from the lovely old English 
village of Richmond above London near which Car 
dinal Wolsey had built lordly Hampton Court, with 
Pope s Twickenham near by, Stoke Pogis Church and 
its immortal Elegy in the distance, and Horace Wai- 
pole s villa and the glimmering Thames throwing 
their clustering associations into the picture. 

At Richmond it was (and is) delightful to live, 
and here, in 1 8 1 1 , having been adopted by Mr. 
John Allan, an Ayrshire Scotchman from the land of 

1 There was even a long-lasting tradition that the Poes had 
been burned alive in the theatre. 


Burns, Edgar Allan Poe took up his abode, a two- 
year-old child, precociously clever and beautiful. Dur 
ing his most impressionable years, the city was the 
most intellectual and with the exception of New Or 
leans the gayest city of the South. It was full of old 
families that had furnished statesmen, legislators, gov 
ernors, generals, and Congressmen to the United States ; 
the presidents of the United States frequently resorted 
there in family reunions and on social visits ; distin 
guished foreigners like Lafayette, after visiting Mount 
Vernon and Monticello and Montpelier, drifted natu 
rally to the hospitable metropolis of the oldest of the 
states and were royally entertained with the far-famed 
Old Virginia profusion. 

Little Edgar s childhood and youth were passed in 
an atmosphere of sociability, open-air sports, oratory, 
and elocution. Patrick Henry, the great orator of 
the Revolution, lay in the neighboring churchyard of 
Old St. John s ; Chief-Justice Marshall, the greatest 
of the justices of the Supreme Court, and John Ran- 
doph of Roanoke, celebrated for silver voice and 
stinging sarcasm, were familiar figures in Richmond 
streets ; retired presidents like Jefferson, Madison, 
and Monroe, after they had laid off the robes of 
office mingled with democratic simplicity in the cul 
tured throngs that haunted the parlors of Capitol Square 
and Shockoe Hill, or of the suburban homes where 
the neighboring plantations projected far into the edges 
of the city. Almost within hailing distance were the 
pleasant mansions of the Pages (ancestors of Thomas 
Nelson Page), Wickhams, Cockes, Harrisons, Mayos, 
and others socially and politically famed in the 
fashionable annals of the times, and in the city itself 
were gathered a goodly company of social celebrities. 


Richmond has for a century been famous for its 
schools, classical and denominational, at first taught 
by English or Irish graduates of famous transatlantic 
schools, and later by distinguished masters of arts of 
the University of Virginia. 

Rosalie Poe was adopted by the Mackenzies, who 
kept a well-known ladies school still remembered by 
persons of the older generation and "old gentlemen 
of the black stock." Edgar fell into the hands of 
kindly folk who taught him at the age of five or six 
to read, write, draw, paint, and "spout verse" from 
his adopted father s dining-table, intermingling the 
recitations (it is asserted, but only on hearsay evidence) 
with toasts and potations to the guests. It seems at 
least impossible at this date to believe that a hard, stern 
Scotchman such as Mr. Allan is described to have 
been, should for the amusement of an evening, so far 
forget himself and his responsibilities to the poor little 
waif as deliberately to ruin his constitution and his 
morals with practices so oiFensive, alike to decency and 
common-sense. As an educated Scot, he must have 
known the history and fortunes of Burns, his Ayr 
shire fellow-countryman, and must have noted, if he 
had his eyes open at all, the resemblance between the 
temperaments of the poet-ploughman and the players 

Much mythical nonsense has been talked and written 
about the " wealth " of Mr. Allan when he adopted 
Poe, and about the " luxury " in which the boy was 
reared in the "palatial home of the Allans." The 
fact is, Mr. Allan was a poor man when he adopted 
Poe and lived upstairs over his store. 

A correspondent, in a letter dated December 17, 
1900, writes : 


" Because the Allans for some half century were 
known in Richmond as rich people, all the books 
assume forsooth that Foe s youth was spoiled by indul 
gence of luxury and extravagance such as large wealth 
may command. It may have been, and doubtless 
was, somewhat spoiled as the adopted child of a good, 
loving woman, childless herself, but wealth was an 
unknown factor in that household until the windfall of 
the Gait legacy in 1825, just before Poe left for the 
University. That the Allans in 1811, when they 
adopted Poe, were living upstairs over their store, in 
which John Allan carried on a small trade, is a fact 
not discreditable, but inconsistent with wealth, and a 
great contrast with their later condition. The fact of 
this mode of business and living rests as yet on tradi 
tionary information, of which I have not yet found 
record proof: but I have no doubt of its correctness. 

" The end of the War of I 81 5 reopened commer 
cial relations with England, presenting fine chances for 
business enterprise, of which the Scotch factor was 
not slow to take advantage. That the results were 
unprofitable and disastrous is evidenced by a deed of 
assignment in 1822, two years after his return to 
Richmond. The assignment was made on private 
account and as partner of Ellis and Allan of Richmond, 
and Allan and Ellis of London. 

" The schedule includes household furniture, his 
negroes, etc., and interest in a small farm inherited by 
his wife : from which it would seem that he had no 
realty in his own right. By consent of creditors Allan 
was allowed to remain in possession of the property 
until the Trustee be required to sell ; with agreement 
to release if he could settle with creditors. The Deed 
of Release is not found, and it is probable that he was 


under stress of the misfortune until relieved by the 
Gait legacy. . . . Old Mr. Gait was one of the 
wealthiest men in the state, and John Allan s share of 
that wealth (he was Gait s nephew) made him one 
of the richest men in a town that had comparatively 
few large fortunes. The fortune revolutionized the 
Allan family life, and gave them new position. 

"The Gait Will was probated in March, 1825, 
and the city records show that within three months 
the legatee, with his newly acquired wealth, bought 
the house on Main Street, afterwards known as the 
Allan House. 

" Poe s stay in that house was not more than about 
six months, before leaving for the University, and for 
short periods after return therefrom. I wonder some 
times how much the sensibilities of the new- rich man 
may have been offended by satirical comment of the 
bright youngster who the critics to the contrary 
notwithstanding bad keen sense of the humorous, 
and wonderful talent in all sorts of criticism [witness 
Dr. Ambler s account of his satire upon the members 
of a debating society to which he belonged, aetat. 1 4 ; 
Ingram, I., 30], I doubt not that some such criticism, 
not malicious, was one of the ingredients in their sub 
sequent disagreement and quarrel. 

" I do not believe that dissipation, and a quarrel 
about money matters were the real cause of Poe s leav 
ing Richmond and his self-effacement for two years 
in the army. Doubtless, after return from the Uni 
versity, there was some such quarrel and falling out, 
but they do not adequately explain the situation and 
its results, for which there are far better and natural 

This then at once disposes of the myth of " mil- 


lionaire " Allan, certainly not to the discredit of 
the canny Scot who was persuaded by his excellent 
wife a Miss Valentine of Richmond much against 
his will, it seems, to adopt the boy. 

In June, 1815, tne ^ay before the Battle of 
Waterloo, Mr. Allan, his wife, and his wife s sister, 
and Edgar sailed for England on this business venture, 
possibly for a short stay, but, as it turned out, for an 
entire lustrum of five years. 

Thus early into Edgar s most impressionable life a 
slice of Old England, his mother-land, intruded ; a bit 
of Old-World romance beset his infant imagination at 
its most sensitive period ; the spell of Europe, in the 
time of Waterloo and the great Napoleon, wove itself 
subtly over his fancy, and he doubtless drank deep of 
the poetic and semi-mysterious atmosphere of the quaint 
English town where his foster-father left him Stoke- 
Newington, then a suburb of London. 

We shall here embellish our narrative with a pictur 
esque quotation from Woodberry s Life (p. 16): 

" His residence there [Stoke-Newington] seems to 
have left deep marks of remembrance upon his mind, 
nor is it unlikely that the delight in the ancient, which 
afterwards characterized him, sprang partly from this 
early familiarity with a memorable past not yet van 
ished from the eye and hand. The main village, 
which has since been lost in the overflow of the me 
tropolis, then consisted of a long elm-embowered street 
of the Tudor time, following the track of a Roman 
road ; near the old Green, by deeply-shaded walks, 
that still bear the names of Henry and Elizabeth, stood 
the houses of Anne Boleyn s ill-fated lover, Earl Percy, 
and of her daughter s fortunate courtier, the favorite 
Leicester ; to the west ran the green lanes, over hazy 
VOL. i. 2 


inland fields, and to the east the more modern street of 
Queen Anne and early Georgian architecture, where 
behind its formal box-bordered parterre rose the white 
Manor House School, old and irregular, sloping in the 
rear to the high brick wall, with its ponderous spiked 
and iron-studded gates, which enclosed the play 

" In the seclusion of these grounds Poe spent his 
school-days from his eighth [ ? ] to his thirteenth year ; 
there in the long, narrow, low school-room, oak- 
ceiled, gothic- windowed, with its irregular, black, 
jackknife-hewed desks and the sacred corner-boxes for 
master and ushers (in one of them once sat the mur 
derer, Eugene Aram), he conned his Latin and mis 
pronounced his French ; in the bed-room beyond the 
many tortuous passages and perplexing little stairways, 
he first felt the wakening of the conscience, whose self- 
echoing whispers he afterwards heightened into the 
voice and ghostly terror of the Spanish Hombre 
Embozado; in that wide, gravelled, treeless, and bench- 
less playground he trained his muscles in the sports, 
and when on Saturday afternoon the mighty gate 
swung open he and his mates filed out to walk beneath 
the gigantic and gnarled trees amid which once lived 
Shakespeare s friend Essex, or to gaze with a boy s 
eyes of wonder at the thick walls, deep windows 
and doors, massive with locks and bars, behind which 
Robinson Crusoe was written ; and on Sunday, after 
the holiday ramble, he would obey the summons of 
the hollow-toned church-bell, sounding from its fretted 

In this Old- World town, therefore, with its mean 
dering lanes and elm-embowered pleasaunces, Edgar 
Poe was placed by the Allans, and there he was for 


the first time regularly trained in English, Latin, 
mathematics, and French. All about him were 
associations of a venerable antiquity ; boys of genius 
like himself though older Byron, Shelley, Keats 
were beginning in these memorable five or six years to 
utter the first musical pipings of the most musically 
gifted of English poets, all of them living then at no 
great distance from Stoke-Newington ; England was in 
the flush and exultation of the Waterloo period, after 
the shame and humiliation of the Battle of New Orleans 
fought just six months before. The boy could not 
but have been impressed by the stir and glory of the 
time. "^^ 

Dr. Bransby, his teacher, and the ancient Manor 
House School, imbedded themselves so deeply in his 
ductile memory that they were enshrined later in his 
* William Wilson," which in one of his letters he 
calls his best story. The broad, benignant face of 
the doctor smiled complacently out of a huge wig that 
made him look like a lord chancellor ; his ready eru 
dition revelled in quotations from Horace and Shak- 
spere (spoken of by Poe with so deep a reverence in 
the Letter prefixed to the 1831 edition of his Poems), 
and he remembered his little American pupil well 
enough to speak in after years kindly of his aptitude 
while criticising his over-abundant pocket-money. 

Poe s English education, thus so favorably begun In 
England under a learned ecclesiastic, never ceased to 
be conducted by Englishmen or Irishmen, for after he 
returned with the Allans to Richmond in 1820, he 
was successively coached by Messrs. Clarke and Burke 
at their classical academies, and when he went to the 
University of Virginia in 1826, all the professors with 
two exceptions were accomplished Englishmen. Even 


as a boy Poe was placed by Col. J. T. L. Preston (a 
friend of the present writer) on a level with "Nat " 
Howard, afterwards known as one of the most dis 
tinguished Latinists in the South, and a school-boy 
contemporary, at Clarke s, of Poe. 

" To dream, * cries Poe in an autobiographic pas 
sage in "The Assignation," " to dream has been 
the business of my life. I have therefore framed for 
myself as you see, a bower of dreams. * 

This "bower of dreams" doubtless began its aerial 
architecture among the immemorial elms, the misty 
fragrances and shadows, the poetic reveries, the trance- 
like tranquillities of this time when the English school 
boy, ten or twelve years old, had already begun to 
scribble the little volume which he handed to Mr. 
Allan, and to be haunted by rhythmic fancies and 
tantalizing poetic thirsts. 

Nor will the conscientious biographer overlook what 
must have been the curious psychological effects of the 
sea on Poe s sensitive temperament during the long- 
drawn-out ocean voyages of eighty years ago, when a 
month was a quick passage across the gray Atlantic, 
and the precocious child, first at six, then at twelve or 
thirteen, spent a month or two of existence amid the 
midsummer splendors of the June seas. No one has 
depicted wind in all its myriad and magic shapes and 
forms and sensations, or water in its infinite diversities 
of color and motion, more graphically than the author 
of "Arthur Gordon Pym," "A MS. found in a 
Bottle," and "The Fall of the House of Usher," 
whether the one is gently agitating the whispering cur 
tains of the Lady Rowena s bed-chamber or the other 
is swallowing in its mystic embrace the crumbling 
battlements of the last of the Ushers. The Eolian 


petulance of the poet s fancy, the Shelleyan versatility 
of phrase and rhythm with which he portrays wind 
and water, storm and calm, tarn and lake, interpreting 
the thousand-fold mysteries of the air and unlocking 
thrills of suggestion and horror from its chambered 
recesses, must all at least have started to germinate in 
these lengthened boyish ocean travels. Both times he 
crossed the Atlantic in June when the glory of the 
stars would be revealed in all their midsummer beauty, 
and when " Astarte s bcdiamonded crescent" and the 
starry hieroglyphs of heaven would stain themselves 
on the heavens in pigments of fire, ever to be treasured 
up in "Al Aaraaf" and many another star-poem or 
star allusion. The " MS. found in a Bottle" is a 
water-poem from beginning to end, written at an 
early age when the youth was vividly reminiscent of 
actual experience. The zephyrlike gossamer women 
of the Tales are incarnations of whispering winds ; 
their movements are the breezy undulations of air 
travelling over bending grain ; their melodious voices 
are the lyrics of the wind articulating themselves in 
flutelike throats ; and full of passion and pregnancy of 
meaning are the musical inflections that exhale from 
their lips as perfumes exhale from the chalices of 

In 1820 we find the travellers again at home in 
their beloved Virginia, beloved by Poe for many 
reasons, and in later days because it bore the name 
of his idolized wife. 

Col. Thomas Mann Randolph, son-in-law of the 
illustrious Jefferson, was Governor of Virginia when 
the family returned home ; a wave of prosperity had 
passed over the country since the Battle of New 
Orleans and the Battle of Waterloo ; Napoleon was 


dying at St. Helena ; and the Bourbon Restoration 
had sent a thrill of joy through aristocratic France : 
the world seemed to rest. The firm of Ellis and 
Allan, dealing in the famous "Virginia leaf" now 
rejoicing in a world-wide reputation, was beginning to 
look up, though there is no evidence for the assertion 
that it had acquired great fortune at this time ; pros 
perous it had been, as we see from the following 
sketch of Poe s boyhood furnished the writer by the 
late Col. T. H. Ellis, son of the senior member of the 
firm. 1 This final statement of Colonel Ellis will cor 
rect several mistakes of the biographies, which assert 
that Mr. Allan went abroad to settle an estate, etc. 
It gives also an authentic reference to the place and 
time of David Poe s death: " her husband had died 
not long before, in Norfolk ; " and shows that the 
names " Edgar Allan " and ft Rose Mackenzie " were 
the baptismal names of the two younger children. 

" On the 8th of December, 1811, Mrs. Poe, of 
English birth, one of the actresses of the company 
then playing on the Richmond boards, died in Rich 
mond, leaving three children. Her husband had died 
not long before, in Norfolk. She had made herself a 
favorite with those who were in the habit of attending 
the theatre, which was then the fashionable entertain 
ment with educated people, both in this country and 
England. There was general sympathy for the little 
orphans left by her. The eldest of the three, William 
Henry, was adopted by his grandfather, Mr. Poe, of 
Baltimore, a gentleman of social position there, and of 
family pride, who had been much offended by his son s 

1 Here reprinted by the courtesy of the editor of the New 
York Independent, in which the account first appeared, Septem 
ber, 1900. 


marriage with an actress. This child died young, but 
lived long enough to develop rare promise. The 
second child, born January 19, 1809, was adopted by 
Mr. and Mrs. John Allan, of Richmond ; the young 
est, a daughter, was adopted by Mr. and Mrs. William 
Mackenzie, also of Richmond ; and the names Edgar 
Allan and Rose Mackenzie were given in baptism by 
the Rev. John Buchanan, D.D., at the residence of 
Mr. John Richard, who was a friend of all the parties 

" The death of Mrs. Poe occurred eighteen days 
before the burning of the Richmond Theatre, and it 
is not improbable that Mr. and Mrs. Allan would 
have been present on that occasion but for the circum 
stance that they were spending the Christmas holidays 
at Mr. Boiler Cocke s, at Turkey Island, with Edgar. 
Mr. Allan and my father were partners in business. 
They had been raised together as clerks in the store 
of Mr. William Gait, who was the most successful 
merchant of his day in Virginia. The business of 
Ellis and Allan, beginning in 1 800, so prospered that 
after the war of 1812 15 they determined to establish 
a branch house in London, for which purpose Mr. 
Allan went abroad and remained in England five 
years. He was accompanied by his wife (a cousin 
of my mother), by his sister-in-law, Miss Anne M. 
Valentine, and by his adopted son. On their return, 
his own house having been leased, so that he could 
not get possession of it, Mr. Allan and his family be 
came members of my father s family, and lived with 
us, I suppose, nearly a year. It was then and there 
that my recollections of Edgar A. Poe began. 

" He was very beautiful, yet brave and manly for 
one so young. No boy ever had a greater influence 


over me than he had. He was, indeed, a leader 
among his playmates ; but my admiration for him 
scarcely knew bounds. The consequence was, he led 
me to do many a forbidden thing, for which I was 
duly punished. The only whipping I ever knew Mr. 
Allan to give him was for carrying me into the fields 
and woods beyond * Belvidere, adjacent to what is 
now Hollywood Cemetery, one Saturday, and keep 
ing me there all day and until after dark, without any 
body at home knowing where we were ; and for 
shooting a lot of domestic fowls, belonging to the 
proprietor of Belvidere, who was at that time, I 
think, Judge Bushrod Washington. He taught me 
to shoot, to swim, to skate, to play bandy; and I 
ought to mention that he once saved me from drown 
ing for having thrown me into the falls headlong, 
that I might f strike out for myself, he presently 
found it necessary to come to my help or it would 
have been too late ! Mr. and Mrs. Allan, having no 
children of their own, lavished upon him their whole 
affection ; he was sent to the best schools, he was 
taught every accomplishment that a boy could acquire, 
he was trained to all the habits of the most polished 
society. There was not a brighter, more graceful or 
more attractive boy in the city than Edgar Allan Poe. 
Talent for declamation was one of his gifts. I well 
remember a public exhibition at the close of a course 
of instruction in elocution which he had attended, 
and my delight when, in the presence of a large and 
distinguished company, he bore off the prize in com 
petition with Channing Moore, Gary Wickham, An 
drew Johnston, Nat Howard, and others who were 
regarded as among the most promising of the Rich 
mond boys. 


" Not content with an adopted son, Mr. and Mrs. 
Allan desired to adopt a daughter also, and were 
constantly begging for my sister, now Mrs. Beverley 
Tucker. The intimacy between the two families 
my father s and Mr. Allan s was naturally very 
close ; on one side I mean the side of the Ellis 
boys and girls our largest Christmas gifts, birthday 
presents, etc., came from the Allans. Edgar was 
once guilty of a piece of meanness for which I have 
not forgiven him to this day. With our father and 
mother we had gone down to spend Christmas even 
ing with the Allans. Among the toys provided for 
our entertainment was a snake a long, slim, shiny 
thing made in sections, which were fastened to each 
other by wires, and a boy, by taking hold of the tail 
and holding it out from his body, could make it 
wriggle and dart about in the most lifelike manner. 
This hideous imitation of a serpent Edgar took in his 
hand, and kept poking it at my sister Jane until it almost 
ran her crazy. 

" Of course I knew about his swim of seven miles 
in James River down to Warwick, accompanied by 
Robert G. Cabell, Robert C. Stanard, and perhaps 
two or three other schoolboys, with Mr. William 
Burke, their schoolmaster, who went along in a row- 
boat to rescue him in case his strength should fail. I 
knew also of his Thespian performances, when he and 
William F. Ritchie and James Greenhow and Creed 
Thomas and Richard Cary Ambler and other school 
mates appeared in dramatic character under a tent 
erected on a vacant lot one or two squares beyond 
what is now St. James Church on Fifth Street 
admittance fee, one cent ! But never was I prouder 
of him than when, dressed in the uniform of the 


Junior Morgan Riflemen (a volunteer company 
composed of boys, and which General Lafayette, in 
his memorable visit to Richmond, selected as his 
bodyguard), he walked up and down in front of the 
marquee erected on the Capitol Square, under which 
the old general held a grand reception in October, 

" One evening there was a meeting of the Gentle 
men s Whist Club at my father s house. The 
members and a few invited guests had assembled and 
were seated at whist tables set out all over the large 
parlor, and things were as quiet as they were on a 
certain night before Christmas, of which we have 
read, when a ghost appeared ! The ghost, no doubt, 
expected and intended to frighten the whole body of 
whist players, who were in truth stirred to a com 
motion. General Winfield Scott, one of the invited 
guests, with the resolution and promptness of an old 
soldier, sprang forward as if he was leading a charge 
in Lundy s Lane. Dr. Philip Thornton, of Rappa- 
hannock, another guest, was, however, nearer to the 
door and quicker than he. Presently the ghost, find 
ing himself closely pressed, began to retreat, backing 
around the room, yet keeping his face to the foe, and 
as the Doctor was reaching out and trying to seize the 
ghost s nose with the view to twitch it off, the ghost 
was f larruping him over the shoulder with the long 
cane which he carried in one hand, while with the 
other hand he was struggling to keep from being tripped 
by the sheet which enveloped his body. When finally 
forced to surrender and the mask was taken from his 
face, Edgar laughed as heartily as ever a ghost did 

"In. February, 1826, Poe was entered as a student 


at the University of Virginia. There began that 
course of conduct which, step by step, led to the 
wretchedness of the after part of his life. Sad, inex 
pressibly sad, and pathetic it was, indeed." 

This sketch gives us a vivid account of the spirited, 
handsome, gifted boy as he appeared seventy-five years 
ago to one of his intimate friends and playmates, the 
son of his foster-father s partner, even then full of 
precocious elocutionary and athletic talents, spoiled, 
wayward, devoted to practical jokes and open-air 
sports, a leader in school, accomplished in all the 
pastimes of the day, skating, swimming like a Lean- 
der or a Byron, leaping, running, acting in the Thes 
pian performances, drilling in the military company, 
and getting a too-rare chastisement for his capricious 
and thoughtless conduct. 

Another interesting glimpse of Poe at this time is 
afforded by the following account sent the writer by 
Dr. Hugh Wythe Davis of Richmond, Virginia, 
whose uncle, Dr. Creed Thomas, was Poe s desk- 
f mate at Burke s School. Dr. Thomas was very inti 
mate with Poe in after years also, and died only a few 
months ago, aged eighty-seven : 

"Dr. Thomas was educated at Burke s School in 
Richmond, Virginia, and at the University of Medi 
cine of Maryland. At the first-named institution, 
which stood near the present site of Ford s Hotel, he 
was a deskmate of Edgar Allan Poe during the years 
1823, 1824, and 1825, and a schoolfellow of the 
Stanards, Cabells, Seldens. Selden told somebody 
that Poe was a liar or a rascal. The embryo poet 
heard of it, and soon the boys were engaged in a fight. 
Selden was heavier than Poe whom he pommelled 
vigorously for some time. The delicate boy appeared 


to submit with little resistance. Finally Poe turned 
the tables on Selden, and much to the surprise of the 
spectators, administered a sound whipping. When 
asked why he permitted Selden to pommel his head 
so long, Poe replied that he was waiting for his ad 
versary to get out of breath before showing him a few 
things in the art of righting. 

" Poe was a quiet, peaceful youngster, and seldom 
got into a difficulty with his schoolmates. He was as 
plucky as any boy at school, however, and never per 
mitted himself to be imposed upon. When it came 
to a question of looking after his individual rights, 
however, the young classic asserted himself. He was 
not at all popular with his schoolmates, being too retir 
ing in disposition and singularly unsociable in manner. 
The only two boys he was intimate with were Monroe 
Stanard, who afterwards became Judge Stanard, and 
Robert G. Cabell. He was quite fond of both of 
them, and the three boys were continually in each 
other s company. It was a noticeable fact that hel 
never asked any of his schoolmates to go home w\th\ 
him after school. Other boys would frequently spend 
the night or take dinner with each other at their 
homes, but Poe was seldom known to enter into this 
social intercourse. After he left the play-grounds at 
school that was an end of his sociability until the next 
day. Dr. Thomas was a member with Poe, Beverley 
Anderson, and William F. Ritchie, of the Thespian 
Society, that had its headquarters in the old wooden 
building which stood on the northeast corner of Sixth 
and Marshall Streets. Poe was a member of this 
society, contrary to the wishes of Mr. Allan. He 
had undoubted talent in this direction. The audience 
usually numbered about forty or fifty. A small admis- 


sion fee was charged, and this was divided between 
the actors, who used it as pin money. A singular 
fact, Dr. Thomas used to say, was that Poe never got 
a whipping at school. He remembered that the other 
boys used to come in for a flogging quite frequently, 
and that he got his share. Mr. Burke believed in the 
moral power of the birch. He accepted the theory, 
Spare the rod and spoil the child, as a matter of 
course, and the consequence was that whippings were 
so frequent that they created no sensation among the 
scholars who witnessed them." l 

It is thus seen to be untrue that " no one knew 
him ; " on the contrary, the boy Poe had many de 
voted friends : Ellis, Thomas, Stanard, and Cabell 
are distinctly mentioned, or mention themselves, 
among them ; and later, when he wertt to the Univer 
sity, these friends increased in number and cordiality : 
Tucker, Burwell, Beale, Slaughter, Wertenbaker, 
Willis, Ambler, all testified to their friendship, many 
of them in their written recollections. The " mar 
vellous boy that perished in his pride " was not 
prouder ; Leopardi, agonized by humiliating deformity, 
could not at times hold more aloof; the shrinking and 
shadowy Tennyson, wandering over his lawns, did 
not recoil at times with more physical horror from 
contact with the clamorous world ; but there is noth 
ing in Poe s early years to justify the assertion that he 
passed them in supreme loneliness. 2 

1 Obituary Notice of Dr. Creed Thomas, Richmond Dispatch, 
Feb. 24, 1899. 

2 See Mrs. Whitman s "Edgar Poe and his Critics," Preface 
to the First Edition, 1860, where a similar statement is warmly 
combated. Cf. the utterances of A. Lang, N. T. Independent, 
Nov. 23, 1899, who doubts whether Poe was even a " gentleman." 


His feeling of unmeasured superiority to his school 
mates in book-learning and athletic accomplishments ; 
his boyish gift of rhyming readily ; the applause of his 
teachers and playmates at the performances of the 
infant prodigy; and the undisguised admiration of the 
home-circle for his dramatic and poetic powers, un 
doubtedly enhanced an innate self-consciousness which 
never left Poe to his latest breath ; but it is baseless^ 
useless, and cruel to affirm that he was "the man in 
the crowd " pursued even as a child by relentless in-^\ 
stincts of solitariness. / 

There are two spots in this normal childhood that 
loom up with shining distinctness : the episode with 
Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard, and his first love. 

We quote a passage from Mrs. Whitman s "Ed 
gar Poe and his Critics," pp. 4855, in which this 
charming biographer and defender of the poet gives us 
a glimpse of the boy at fourteen in the throes of a first 
affection : 

" While at the academy in Richmond, he one day 
accompanied a schoolmate to his home, where he saw 
for the first time Mrs. H. [elen] S.panard], 1 the 
mother of his young friend. This lady, on entering 
the room, took his hand and spoke some gentle and 
gracious words of welcome, which so penetrated the 
sensitive heart of the orphan boy as to deprive him of 
the power of speech, and for a time almost of con 
sciousness itself. He returned home in a dream, with 
but one thought, one hope in life, to hear again the 
sweet and gracious words that had made the desolate 
world so beautiful to him, and filled his lonely heart 
with the oppression of a new joy. This lady after- 

1 Really, Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard : Poe disliked the name Jane, 
and substituted Helen for it. 


wards became the confidante of all his boyish sorrows, 
and hers was the one redeeming influence that saved 
and guided him in the earlier days of his turbulent and 
passionate youth." 

When she died of mental alienation in 1824, it is 
related that the boy-poet would not give her up, but 
haunted her grave in the April and autumnal nights 
with the passionate feeling of undying companionship, 
even with the dead, which afterwards ran like a line 
of fire through his romances of death, trance, and sen 
tience after death. 

This abiding element of Foe s life, his intimacy with 
Mrs. Stanard, and her sorrowful death, furnished the 
theme for that exquisite woman-element in his poems 
which beads itself into a string of pearls and runs now 
in shadowy and beautiful shapes of dreamlike Melusines 
through his Tales, now coins itself into cameo-like 
stanzas, " To Helen," " Lenore," " Annabel Lee " 
or the lost " Ulalume," in stanzas as imperishable in 
beauty as those which rise wraithlike from the passion 
and spume of the early life of Goethe. What would 
these two lives indeed Goethe s and Poe s be 
without their rich idealizations of woman snatched 
from Dreamland, but hovering in the mid-air of actual 
experience ! 

" It was the image of this lady " (continues Mrs. 
Whitman), " long and tenderly and sorrowfully cher 
ished, that suggested the stanzas To Helen, pub 
lished among the poems written in his youth, which 
Russell Lowell says have in them a grace and symme 
try of outline such as few poets ever attain, and 
which are valuable as displaying what can only 
be expressed by the contradictory phrase of innate 


4< Helen, thy beauty is to me 

Like those Nicaean barks of yore 
That gently o er a perfumed sea 

The weary, wayworn wanderer bore 
To his own native shore." 

"In a letter now before us " (continues the lady), 
" written within a twelvemonth of his death, Edgar 
Poe speaks of the love which inspired these verses as 
the one, idolatrous, and purely ideal love of his pas 
sionate boyhood/ In one of the numbers of Rus 
sell s Magazine, there is a transcript of the first 
published version of the exquisite poem entitled Le- 
nore, commencing 

" * Ah ! broken is the golden bowl ! the spirit flown forever. 
Let the bell toll : a saintly soul floats on the Stygian River. 

"It is remarkable, that, in this earlier version, in 
stead of LENORE, we have the name of HELEN. The 
lines were afterwards greatly altered, and improved in 
structure and expression ; and the name of Lenore was 
introduced, apparently for its adaptation to rhythmical 

With Sarah Elmira Royster, a neighbor of Mr. 
Allan s, came a real love-affair. This young lady 
was a year or two younger than the mature Poe 
(aged sixteen or so) and met his advances in an 
amiable and appreciative spirit. " He was a gentle 
man " (she writes) "in every sense of the word. 
He was one of the most fascinating and refined men I 
ever knew. I never saw him under the influence of 
wine. I admired him more than any man I ever 

In an earlier letter the same lady continues : 1 

1 Appleton s Journal, May, 1878. 


" Edgar was a beautiful boy ; he was not very talk 
ative, and his general manner was sad, but when he 
did talk his conversation was very pleasant. He was 
devoted to the first Mrs. Allan, and she to him. Of 
his own parents he never spoke. I have seen his 
brother Henry, who was in the navy. He had very 
few associates, but he was very intimate with Ebenezer 
Berling, a widow s son, of about the same age as him 
self. Berling was an interesting, intelligent young 
man, but somewhat inclined to dissipation. They used 
to visit our house together very frequently. 

" Edgar was warm and zealous in any cause he was 
interested in, being enthusiastic and impulsive. He 
had strong prejudices, and hated everything coarse and 
unrefined. I can still remember him saying to me, 
when an acquaintance made an unladylike remark, I 
am surprised you should associate with anyone who 
could make such a remark ! 

He was very generous. He drew beautifully and 
drew a pencil likeness of me in a few minutes. He 
was passionately fond of music. ... It distresses me 
greatly when I see anything scurrilous written about 
him. Do not believe a tenth part of what is said. It 
is chiefly produced by jealousy and envy. T have the 
greatest respect for his memory. Our acquaintance 
was kept up until he left to go to the University, and 
during the time he was at the University he wrote to 
me frequently. But my father intercepted the letters 
because we were too young for no other reason. I 
was between fifteen and sixteen when we were en 
gaged. I was not aware that he had written to me 
from the University until after I was married, when 1 
was seventeen, to Mr. Shelton." 

Thus the Ideal and the Real jostle each other in 
VOL. i. 3 


actual life : "the one like the shield of bronze whose 
color was so long contested by the knights of fable ; " 
the other, "presenting at least a silver lining." 1 

The year 1825 seems to have been spent by Poe 
in busy preparation, under private tutors, for entrance 
into the University of Virginia. The University, 
planned and founded by Jefferson, had opened the 
year before and had attracted great attention all over 
the country. Its magnificent buildings, its corps of 
accomplished European professors, drawn mostly from 
England, its novel system of elective studies, and its 
hitherto unknown and untried system of democratic 
self-government by the students themselves, had inter 
ested educators everywhere, and many eyes were 
turned curiously on Jefferson s experiment. 

1 Mrs. S. H. Whitman, " Edgar Poe and his Critics," p. 69. 





ALBEMARLE County, in which the University of Vir 
ginia is situated, is one of the finest and most fruitful 
counties in the Old Dominion. Originally near the 
centre of Virginia before it was dismembered, it seemed 
to President Jefferson an ideal spot for the erection of 
the great institution which he had been planning since 
1779 and which, overcoming innumerable obstacles, 
he succeeded in establishing and opening in March, 
1825. Around this lovely land, through which trails 
for more than one hundred miles the delightful green 
ery of the South-West Mountains, gather all the 
confluent lines of grace that characterize a gently 
mountainous country where, exhausted with uplifting 
giant Alleghanies, the poetic mountain sprites exercise 
their ingenuity in carving out graceful vales, long un 
dulating slopes, the winding labyrinths of silver rivers, 
and wooded dells thick with Vallombrosan shades. 

1 Unpublished MSS. Archives of the University of Virginia. 
Bound Catalogues of the University of Virginia, 182544. 

Schele de Vere Catalogue of Students of the University of 
Virginia, 1825-75. 

Files of the University of Virginia Magazine, 185657, 1900. 

H. B. Adams "Jefferson and the University of Virginia." 


Albemarle might indeed, apart from its musical name, 
be called the "picture" county of Virginia, and it 
was the spirit of the poet who wrote our great epic of 
the Declaration of Independence that chose this favored 
spot as the birthplace, cradle, and home of his Uni 
versity. From his own Parnassus of Monticello, three 
miles away, he looked down and beheld the spacious 
vale wherein the cunning magic of his persuasive tongue 
had evoked a scene of Grecian beauty that breathed 
the spirit of Old World enchantment. Obdurate 
legislatures had melted before the " old man eloquent " 
as he pleaded for his University ; avaricious pockets 
emptied their contents into his Educational Fund as he 
spoke of the boundless advantages of the new institu 
tion ; distinguished foreign savants listened with atten 
tion as his marvellous pen discoursed in countless letters 
(30,000 of Jefferson s letters are said to be in exist 
ence !) of his plans and projects for an Oxford, a 
Cambridge or a Gottingen in the New World. 

The result was the beautiful scene that lay below 
Monticello, the exquisitely situated mountain-crest 
towering eight hundred feet in the air where " The 
Father of the University of Virginia " had built him 
self an eyrie among the century-old trees overlooking a 
view of rolling, river-bounded loveliness, where Pied 
mont hill and sapphire Blue Ridge, gaunt Alleghany 
and solemn Ragged Mountains blend into a delightful 
harmony, all gathering round and enshrining in their 
bosom the jewel of Jefferson, the white-domed Uni 

Such was the spot where Edgar Allan Poe arrived 
in 1826 and wrote his name, the 13 6th on the list, 
on good St. Valentine s Day, in the Matriculation 
Book of the University. 


A young man s teachers are often those who in 
after life influence his career most vitally ; and Jeffer 
son s sagacity had gathered at the University a galaxy 
of brilliant scholars who soon worked themselves into 
this influence and into reputations unrivalled for learn 
ing, profundity and force. The eight men with whom 
Edgar Poe was thrown into intimate official and scho 
lastic contact were Dunglison, Long, Blaettermann, 
Key, Bonnycastle, Emmet, Tucker, and Lomax ; and 
from this list one dare not leave out the venerable 
librarian of the University, William Wertenbaker, 
who was appointed by Jefferson himself and held the 
position for forty-three years : a man with whom Poe 
came frequently in contact. 

" During the year 1826," said Mr. Wertenbaker, 1 
" there used to come into the library a handsome 
young student, perhaps eighteen years of age, in search 
of old French books, principally histories ; that young 
man, even the little I chanced to see of him, made a 
deep impression on me, and in fact I am sure I will 
always tenderly cherish my recollections of Edgar 
Allan Poe." 

Six out of the eight professors (1826) were foreign- 
born, a little irreverently called by the students in the 
Faculty Minute Books of the time, when they were 
summoned up for some student pranks, ff those damned 
European professors." 

At least seven were men of the highest character, 
scholarship, and worth ; all were comparatively 
young, except Mr. George Tucker, who had been 
called from the halls of Congress by Jefferson to as 
sume the professorship of Moral Philosophy, and who 
afterwards greatly distinguished himself as the biog- 

1 University of Virginia Magazine, Vol. XIX., p. 45. 


rapher of Jefferson, the historian of the United States, 
the novelist of the Shenandoah, and the brilliant essayist 
and statistician, first chairman of the faculty. 

Another, Mr. George Long, had an eminent liter 
ary career, adorned by many successes and intimately 
interwoven with the intellectual life of Greece and 
Rome as investigator, geographer, historian, editor, and 

The University Matriculation Book of 1826 shows 
that Edgar Allan Poe wrote his name and the date of 
his birth, 1 the name of his parent or guardian, his resi 
dence and the schools that he attended as follows : 
Edgar A. Poe; | 19 January, 1809; | John Allan; 2 | 
Richmond, Va. ; | and the Schools of Ancient and 
Modern Languages. 3 

Out of the 177 students present that year, 107 
" elected " Ancient Languages and 90 elected Modern 
Languages, the number gathering from thirteen differ 
ent states (Catalogues of the University of Virginia, 
182544), including New York and Pennsylvania. 

George Ticknor s active and open advocacy of the 
reform educational views of Jefferson had already 
aroused uneasiness in New England, and particularly 
at Harvard, whose alert and learned President, Josiah 
Quincy, favored the elective system and began to 
inquire into the workings of the new institution 
(Adams, 130). Edward Everett, too, viewed with 
admiring but critical eyes the Jefferson experiment and 
copied into his "North American Review " article 
for January, 1820, Jefferson s entire scheme of studies 

1 Not "the place," as Professor Woodberry states, "Edgar 
Allan Poe," p. 25. 

2 Misspelt Allen in the records. 

3 Professors Long and Blaettermann. 


proposed for the University of Virginia and printed in 
the proceedings and report of the Commissioners for 
the University in 1818. 

What induced Mr. Allan to send his adopted son to 
the University, apart from the boy s precocious talents 
and excellent preparation, and the reputation of the 
University, we know not ; but hither he came in 
February, rooming, first on the Lawn, and then, after 
a pugilistic encounter with his room-mate, Miles 
George, transferring himself and his goods to No. 13, 
West Range, according to his friend, Mr. T. G. 
Tucker ; to No. 1 7, West Range, according to 
another tradition. 1 

Being Foe s intimate friend at the University, Mr. 
Tucker may be taken, along with Mr. Wertenbaker 
and Mr. Burwell, as giving a fairly accurate account 
of Poe s career while the two young men were fellow- 
students. He describes the poet at this period of life 
as rather short of stature, thick, compactly set but 
active, an expert in all the athletic and gymnastic arts. 
A gymnasium had been opened in the University, and 
a military drill-master, one Matthews, from West 
Point, had been employed to instruct volunteers in 
nilitary evolutions and tactics, an association which 
nay have influenced Poe, a little later, first to enter 
he army under an assumed name and then formally 
o enroll himself as a cadet at the United States 
Academy in 1830. Mr. Tucker in 1880 remem 
bered his famous contemporary as bow-legged, jerky 
and hurried in his movements, and with the air and 

1 University of Virginia Magazine, Vol. XIX., p. 426 seq. 
Mr. Allan had only recently inherited large wealth from his uncle, 
Mr. Gait (1825), and thus felt able to give his foster-son the best 
University education. 


action of a native-born Frenchman. He was very 
mercurial in his disposition and exceedingly fond of 
peach-and-honey. Seven-up and loo were his favorite 
games, for everybody played cards in those days, and 
he played in so impassioned a manner that it amounted 
almost to infatuation. Card-playing and drinking alike 
were carried on under the spell of impulse or uncon 
trolled excitement. His passion for strong drink was 
even then (continues Mr. Tucker) of a most marked 
and peculiar character. He would always seize the 
tempting glass, generally unmixed with sugar or 
water, in fact, perfectly straight, and without 
the least apparent pleasure, swallow the contents, never 
pausing until the last drop had passed his lips. One 
glass (the size is not stated) at a time was all that he 
could take ; but this was sufficient to rouse his whole 
nervous nature into a state of strongest excitement, 
which found vent in a continuous flow of wild, fasci 
nating talk that irresistibly enchanted every listener 
with siren-like power. 

Poe is described as having been an excellent French 
and Latin scholar ; he could read and speak both lan 
guages with great ease, although he could hardly be 
said to have known either language thoroughly. Greek 
he read indifferently. Time and again he would enter 
into the lecture-room (Pavilion V. or Pavilion IV., 
where Professors Long and Blaettermann lived) utterly 
unprepared to recite if called upon. But his brain was 
so active and his memory so excellent that only a few 
moments study was necessary, and then he was ready 
to make the best recitation in the class. To have 
opportunity of "reading ahead". . . was all that 
Poe desired when unprepared. As a consequence of 
this wonderful faculty he was able to maintain a very 


high position in his classes, and win for himself the 
admiration, but more often the envy of his fellow- 

" It is delightful to know " (continues the author of 
the paper from which we are quoting : " Edgar Allan 
Poe while a student at the University of Virginia ") 
"that Poe was not exempt from that college weak 
ness ... a good, healthy quarrel with . . . one s 
room-mate. When he first came to the University, he 
roomed on the Lawn with a young man from Rich 
mond, Miles George. They had been together but a 
short time when something arose to disturb the har 
monious intercourse perhaps Miles refused to arise 
one morning to answer the knock of Mr. Wertenbaker 
(librarian and secretary of the faculty) who in those 
good old days made the rounds each morning to see 
if the fellows were up and dressed and ready for 
work, ... or perhaps Edgar Allan was unwilling to 
count over the clothes on Monday morning when the 
washer-woman came [there were seven different an 
cient colored dames who in 1880 claimed to have 
washed for " Marse Ed. Poe ! "]. They had a fall 
ing-out and a genuine, good old-fashioned fight, 
retiring to a field near the University ; and after one 
or two rounds they agreed that they were satisfied, 
shook hands, and returned to the University as warm 
friends, but not as room-mates. Poe after this little 
affair moved into No. 13 on West Range." 

Poe s constant companions were Thomas S. Ghol- 
son (afterwards a distinguished Judge), Upton Beale 
and Philip Slaughter (later Episcopal ministers, the 
latter the eminent historiographer of the Diocese of 
Virginia), Wat Dunn, Wm. A. Creighton, and Wm. 
M. Burwell (afterwards well-known as editor of " De 
Bow s Review "). 


" Whatever Poe may have been in after years, he 
was at the University " (says Mr. Tucker) "as true 
and perfect a friend as the waywardness of his nature 
would allow. There was never then the least trace of 
insincerity, and never the least indication of that fickle 
ness of disposition with which he was afterwards so 
often although in the main, we think, unjustly 

" Poe showed his warm appreciation and high re 
spect for his friend Tucker by reading to him the early 
productions of his youth, productions that his critical 
hand afterwards destroyed, thinking them unfit for 
publication. Sometimes, when he had written an 
article that Tucker would especially praise, he would 
call in a few of his friends and read it to them. Those 
men who were fortunate enough to hear these im 
promptu readings never forgot them, and those of the 
number who were still living in 1880 declared that 
there was no impression on their minds more strikingly 
vivid. They were mostly stories characterized by 
that same weirdness of style, graphically picturing hor 
rible scenes and incidents, that so strongly marked all 
of his published writings. His little room on West 
Range was often filled with a small, select audience of 
his most particular friends who, spell-bound, scarcely 
breathed while they eagerly listened to some story, 
strange and wild, like all the rest, that he had just 
written and that he read with his whole soul thrown 
into every action and intonation of his voice now 
loud and rapid, like the mad rush of many waters, 
and now sinking into a scarcely audible whisper, of 
some terrible sentence of incantation or curse sending 
a shiver over all that heard. 

" On one occasion Poe read a story of great length 


to some of his friends who, in a spirit of jest, spoke 
lightly of its merits, and jokingly told him that his 
hero s name, Gaffy, occurred too often. His proud 
spirit would not stand such open rebuke ; so in a fit 
of anger, before his friends could prevent him, he had 
flung every sheet into a blazing fire, and thus was lost 
a story of more than ordinary parts which, unlike most 
of his stories, was intensely amusing, entirely free 
from his usual sombre coloring and sad conclusions 
merged in a mist of impenetrable gloom. He was for 
a long time afterwards called by those in his particular 
circle f Gaffy Poe, a name that he never altogether 

" Gaming during the first two or three sessions of 
the University was very prevalent. In fact, during 
the early quarter of the present century it was indulged 
in to a certain extent more or less by our very best 
people. But, of course, it was something in an insti 
tution like this of so pernicious a nature as to demand 
a decided check. This, /the year before his death, 
Mr. Jefferson attempted by trying to stop the general 
card-playing at the University ; he and the Board of 
Visitors made an arrangement with the civil authorities 
to ferret out the most noted of the young gamblers and 
have them indicted and brought before the next Grand 
Jury. So on a given day the Sheriff with a goodly 
posse appeared within the doorway of one of the 
lecture-rooms just as the morning-roll was about to be 
called, ready to serve his writs on certain young men 
as they answered to their names. But these young 
rakes were not to be so easily ensnared in the toils of 
the enemy. They needed no worH of warning ; the 
mere glimpse of the Sheriff s ^shadow in the dotJrway 
with his men behind him, was more than enough to 


convey to their minds an idea of what was coming. 
With Edgar Allan Poe for a leader they indiscrimi 
nately bolted, some through the open windows 
[probably at Professor Long s, a house having a lower 
room of many windows, now occupied by Prof. F. H. 
Smith], and some through the opposite door. Sheriff, 
posse, and professor were left in full possession of the 
empty lecture-room. Then the hot pursuit ! 

" But those who were most wanted made their suc 
cessful escape, not to their rooms they would not 
have been safe there ; but off to the * Ragged Moun 
tains over an unfrequented by-path, but one well- 
known to Poe and over which he had often travelled. 
They were aware it would not be well to return to 
the University until after night ; so some of the party 
had managed in their hasty flight to snatch up a deck 
or so of cards with which to while away the hours of 
their self-imposed banishment. Their place of retreat 
was a beautiful dell high up in the mountains, and very 
inaccessible, being far away from any beaten path, but 
the spot that was a favorite haunt with Poe. And here 
the fugitives remained three days." 1 

Many of Poe s well-known views on landscape 
gardening ("Landor s Cottage," "The Domain of 
Arnheim," etc.) were doubtless shaping themselves in 
his fertile youthful brain as he rambled over these De 
lectable Mountains and drank in their delicious beauty, 
doubtless too visiting the many lordly plantation houses 
in the neighborhood, swimming in the yellow Rivanna 
that cleaves the plain with its golden torrent, and 
tramping through the hickory and locust forests that 

1 The writer has considerably condensed the account in the 


fairly flash in spring with the white flame of the milky 
dogwood blossom. 

The following recollections 1 by Mr. William Wer- 
tenbaker, were drawn up in 1869. The aged Libra 
rian says : 

" Mr. Poe was a student during the second session, 
which commenced February 1st and terminated De 
cember 1 5th, 1826. He signed the matriculation 
book on the I4th of February, and remained in good 
standing until the session closed. He was born on 
the 1 9th day of January, 1 809, being a little over 
seventeen when he matriculated. He entered the 
schools of Ancient and Modern Languages, attending 
the lectures in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish and 

" I was myself a member of the last three classes, 
and can testify that he was tolerably regular in his 
attendance, and a successful student, having obtained 
distinction at the Final Examination in Latin and 
French ; and this was at that time the highest honor a 
student could obtain. The present regulations in re 
gard to degrees had not then been adopted. Under 
existing regulations he would have graduated in the 
two languages above named, and have been entitled to 
diplomas. On one occasion Professor Blaettermann 
requested his Italian class to render into English verse 
a portion of the lesson in Tasso, which he had 
assigned them for the next lecture. He did not 
require this of them as a regular class exercise, but 
recommended it as one from which he thought the 
students would derive benefit. At the next lecture 

1 Here reproduced by the present writer from his paper in The 
Independent for September, 1900, with the kind permission of the 


on Italian the Professor stated from his chair that Mr. 
Poe was the only member of the class who had 
responded to his suggestion, and paid a very high 
compliment to his performance. As Librarian I had 
frequent official intercourse with Mr. Poe, but it was 
at or near the close of the session before I met him 
in the social circle. After spending an evening to 
gether at a private house, he invited me in on our 
return to his room. It was a cold night in December, 
and his fire having gone pretty nearly out, by the aid 
of some tallow candles, and the fragments of a small 
table which he broke up for the purpose, he soon 
rekindled it, and by its comfortable blaze I spent a 
very pleasant hour with him. On this occasion he 
spoke with regret of the large amount of money he 
had wasted and of the debts he had contracted during 
the session. If my memory is not at fault, he 
estimated his indebtedness at $2,000, and, though 
they were gaming debts, he was earnest and emphatic 
in the declaration that he was bound by honor to 
pay, at the earliest opportunity, every cent of them. 
He certainly was not habitually intemperate, but he 
may occasionally have entered into a frolic. I often 
saw him in the lecture-room and in the library, but 
never in the slightest degree under the influence of 
intoxicating liquors. Among the professors he had 
the reputation of being a sober, quiet and orderly 
young man, and to them and the officers his deport 
ment was uniformly that of an intelligent and polished 
gentleman. Although his practice of gaming did 
escape detection, the hardihood, intemperance and 
reckless wildness imputed to him by his biographers, 
had he been guilty of them, must inevitably have 
come to the knowledge of the faculty and met with 


merited punishment. The records of which I was 
then, and am still, the custodian, attest that at no 
time during the session did he fall under the censure 
of the faculty. Mr. Poe s connection with the Uni 
versity was dissolved by the termination of the session 
on the 1 5th of December, 1826. He then wanted 
little over a month of having attained to the age of 
eighteen : the date of his birth was plainly entered 
in his own handwriting on the matriculation book. 
Were he now living, his age on the I9th of this 
month (January, 1869) would be sixty. He never 
returned to the University, and I think it probable that 
the night I visited him was the last he spent here. I 
draw this inference not from memory, but from the 
fact, that having no further use for his candles and 
table he made fuel of them. 

" Mr. Poe s works are more in demand and more 
read than those of any other author, American or for 
eign, now in the library. To gratify curiosity, I copy 
from the register a list of the books which Mr. Poe 
borrowed from the library while he was a student : 
Rollin Histoire Ancienne, < Histoire Romaine ; 
Robertson s America ; Marshall s Washing 
ton ; Voltaire Histoire Particuliere ; Dufief s 
Nature Displayed. (University of Virginia, 
January, 1869.) 

Mr. Wertenbaker s statements may well be supple 
mented by the following extracts from " Edgar A. 
Poe, and his College Contemporaries," published by 
the Hon. Wm. M. Burwell, editor of " De Bow s 
Review," in the New Orleans "Times-Democrat," 
May 1 8, 1884 : 

" My recollection of Poe, then little more than a 
boy, is that he was about five feet two or three inches 


in height, somewhat bandy-legged, but in no sense 
muscular or apt in physical exercises. His face was 
feminine, with finely marked features, and eyes dark, 
liquid, and expressive. He dressed well and neatly. 
He was a very attractive companion, genial in his 
nature and familiar, by the varied life that he had 
already led, with persons and scenes new to the 
unsophisticated provincials among whom he was 
thrown. . . . What, however, impressed his asso 
ciates most were his remarkable attainments as a classi 
cal scholar. The professor of ancient languages and 
literature was an accomplished linguist and philologer. 
He was a terror to those who had only learned to 
translate the curriculum of authors taught in the 
average academy. To these Juvenal and Statius, 
Homer and Hesiod were the bounds of all classical 
knowledge, while to most of them the history, litera 
ture, geography, and the social conditions of the 
ancients beyond the lids of the text-books and the dic 
tionary, were unknown. 

" With this literature in texts and comments Poe 
was familiar. It had no doubt been inculcated at Stoke- 
Newington and is manifest in many beautiful allusions 
throughout his writings. . . . Among the most signifi 
cant tributes to his extraordinary powers of analysis 
and metaphysical reasoning may be noted that Jules 
Verne, in one of his later novels . . . pronounces 
Poe the ablest analytical writer of his day, and em 
ploys the mathematical methods of The Gold-Bug to 
solve a cryptographic mystery in his own story. 

" The particular dissipation of the University at 
this time was gaming with cards, and into this Poe 
plunged with a recklessness of nature that knew no 
bounds. . He called on the writer in Baltimore 


after his return, as was understood, from Russia. He 
was in temporary trouble incurred by intemperance. 

" Whatever may have been his natural tendencies 
to dissipation, Poe found a state of things favorable to 
their development at the University. Southern young 
men were indulged in abundant means and entire 
absence of restraint. They flocked to this new insti 
tution as to a watering-place. . . . To the first ses-t 
sions of this admirable school poured in the Southern* 
youth, most of them intent upon availing themselves 
of the advantages afforded. Among them, however, 
were many who had little other object than to com 
bine enjoyment with the preparatory routine of a liberal 
education. Some of this class arrived with unlimited 
means, others with elegant equipages. One came from 
the Eastern Shore with a tandem of blooded horses, 
a servant, a fowling-piece and a pointer or two. Some 
were afflicted with habits of extravagance, and contempt 
for the toilsome acquisition of Knowledge. . . . Mr. 
Jefferson, having assumed that these high-spirited coad 
jutors in the defense of our constitutional ramparts 
comprehended his patriotic motives, had provided no 
discipline for their scholastic deportment. He con 
fided that the restraints of propriety would be sufficient 
to make them behave themselves as gentlemen. 

" They certainly did behave themselves as gentle 
men of the highest style. They gamed, fought duels, 
attended weddings for thirty miles around, and went 
in debt in the most liberal manner. 

" But we repeat that the University was not rilled 
with this gay and determined class which has been 
described. There were hundreds who appreciated the 
privileges of the institution, and who paid no attention 
to the follies which occurred among their fellow- 
VOL. i. 4 


students. These steady students passed through their 
course of study and vindicated its value by their after 

" The particular habit of gaming prevailed because 
there was no other excitement in which the animal 
spirits of these wild young men could have evaporated. 
The buildings first completed stood in the midst 
of uncultivated fields and other unattractive scenery. 
The county of Albemarle contained many families of the 
highest worth. Indeed, it had furnished many of the 
most eminent men in the State s history. Mr. Jeffer 
son, Lewis, the explorer of the Missouri, Clark, his 
associate, Gen. Rogers Clark, who captured Kaskaskia 
from the British, General Sumter of the Revolution, 
the Minors, Gilmers, Carters, Carrs and others were 
all natives of Albemarle, but these families were scat 
tered over a large country. The court-house town of 
Charlottesville had been the place near which the 
prisoners captured at Saratoga had been confined. It 
had been the temporary seat of the Legislature during 
the invasion or raid of Tarleton. It had a population 
of several hundred, but at the period now spoken of 
Mr. Jefferson had recorded, as one of the religious 
tolerations, that there being no church in the village, 
each of the principal church persuasions held its services 
in the court-house under a rotation agreed on among 
themselves. The families of the professors were too 
limited to furnish social facilities to the students. So 
far, then, from there being at or around the University 
a social intercourse of sufficient extent to have pro 
vided even reasonable recreation for so many young 
men, there was not even a public opinion strong 
enough to rebuke their excesses. 

"The public opinion and corporate ordinances of 


the village were alike disregarded. The disorder and 
dissipation of the students were subjects of indignant 
censure. The few merchants and hotels found their 
accounts in this extravagance, though the reckless 
creation of debt led to the enactment of a statute sub 
sequently by which such debts when beyond the rea 
sonable wants of a student, were declared void. A 
party of students on a frolic were coming along the 
road between the village and the University, when they 
suddenly encountered the professor of moral philosophy 
and political economy. Most of the party escaped; 
but one, after a distinguished advocate, disdained con 
cealment. I am, said he, K. M. M. of Tuscaloosa, 
Ala., too firm to fly, and far too proud to yield. 
And, said the professor, Mr. M. might have added 
"almost too drunk to stand." " 


A close study of the Faculty Books for 1825, 1826, 
and 1827 reveals many facts of interest to the student 
of University life in Virginia in the first quarter of the 

Starting out with a democratic theory that the stu 
dents should be a self-governing body and should 
being put on their honor take care of their own 
morals and manners, Mr. Jefferson and the early trus 
tees of the institution were before long brought to the 
conclusion that an outside police was essential to the 
comfort and reputation of both students and professors. 
A riot having broken out in October, 1825, among 
the matriculates, the professors informed Mr. Jefferson 
that they would resign in a body if a proper police 


were not appointed to take care of the grounds and 
buildings, and of their inhabitants. Rules and regula 
tions gradually increased in number and severity (there 
were already some ninety odd printed in the Enact 
ments of 1825) ; the blood that oozed from Draco s 
famous code began to sprinkle the laws of the " rude 
forefathers " of the Virginia " hamlet ; J> and tradition 
yet lives that one of Jefferson s own kinsmen was the 
first student expelled, Roman-like, by the angered 
founder, through the faculty, from his beloved institu 

As early as December, 1825, a University Reading 
Room was suggested ; the Lawn, well-known and be 
loved by all University men as the beautiful verdure- 
clad parallelogram that flows in dropping, five-fold 
terraces from the column-crowned esplanade of the 
Rotunda down to Lovers Walk of the olden days, and 
to the Ionic-pillared Aula of the present, edged by 
cloistered dormitories and by the Greek porticoes of 
the professors Pavilions, is first mentioned in the 
Minutes in October, 1825 ; the old University bell, 
purchased by Jefferson himself (now cracked, and pre 
served as a sacred relic in the Brooks Museum), tolled 
for the first time July 5, 1826, in honor of the august 
memory of the great President, who had died the day 
before ; and the first fourth of July oration was ap 
pointed to be delivered in this memorable year. 

This year, too, a library catalogue was suggested ; 
the library (originally placed in the old Central Col 
lege building, now Pavilion VII., the residence of 
Prof. N. K. Davis, and first of the Pavilions to be 
built) was ordered opened every day except Saturday 
and Sunday, from 3.30 to 5 P.M., so that students 
might consult the rare and fine collection of standard 


works picked and chosen by Jefferson himself, and 
afterwards enriched by President Madison s collec 
tion and many miscellaneous donations and purchases. 

Over and over again during these troublesome 
years a triad of experimental beginnings the stu 
dents names were ordered to be painted on the doors 
of their dormitories, and professors were permitted to 
break down these doors if they were not instantly 
opened on requisition ; but for some reason the paint 
ing does not appear to have been done. Parents and 
guardians were admitted to the examinations, reports 
of which were ordered printed in 1826, in the Rich 
mond " Enquirer " and other papers ; and in midsum 
mer, 1827, there is a record of examinations beginning 
at 5 o clock in the morning ! 

Ever since this same year the janitor has rung the 
morning alarum-bell at 6.30, and this year was also 
signalized by the first use of the merit system in the 
arrangement of the names of the successful examinees, 
the names being arranged in several divisions (ist, 
2nd, 3rd) according to the standing of the student ; 
the earlier announcements, as in Poe s two certificates 
quoted below, having been alphabetical. The final 
examinations of this year seem to have lasted only one 
and one-half to two and one-half hours each. Profes 
sors reports were handed in and discussed in full 
faculty meeting in 1826 and 1827, an ^ t^ e fi rst refer 
ence to monthly circulars to parents occurs in October, 
1827. The faculty balloted for chairman, and already, 
in 1827, there were complaints of the arduous duties 
of the chairmanship. 

A valued correspondent throws amusing light on the 
difficulties of student life at the University in those 
days, and writes : 


"I will relate a little incident of Dr. Thomas " 
-Thomas was Poe s desk-mate at Burke s Academy, 
Richmond, " student days at the University as he 
told me. It may be an incentive to students of to 
day. At that time, while Mr. Jefferson was Rector, 
. . . there was only one text-book in Mixed Mathe 
matics, which had to be used by a class of ten students 
to prepare on the lectures given by the professor. 
Consequently, the class would divide in two sections, 
one party studying until one o clock at night, and the 
other party after that time until morning ! 

No wonder that the chairmanship went a-begging ; 
the professors would not elect, and the appointment 
had finally to be made by the Visitors. 

Poe s introduction to Latin and Greek, to ancient 
rhythms and metres in their higher artistic forms, and 
to ancient and modern literatures in all their myriad 
cultural and aesthetic associations, was thus in the 
hands of accomplished men who took him up at the 
point where his thorough training in England for five 
years and his brilliant record at Mr. Clarke s and Mr. 
Burke s classical schools in Richmond for four or five 
years more, rendered him their fit and apt pupil. 
Col. J. T. L. Preston attested privately and publicly 
especially in his reminiscences of Poe in the Ingram 
Biography the poet s rare accomplishments for a 
mere boy in reading and " capping" Latin verse, 
and Professor Blaettermann eulogized his translation 
from Tasso. It may not be at all impossible that 
Poe s penchant for geography, wild and weird as it is, 
in "Arthur Gordon Pym," "The Journal of Julius 
Rodman," and elsewhere, may have been suggested 
by Professor Long s passion for this study and continu 
ous harping on it, following Jefferson s contention that 


geography and ^history must be studied together as 
essential subsidiaries to textual researches in Latin and 
Greek; and Foe s passion for moon-hoaxes and lunar 
voyages may have had their inception in Professor 
Tucker s (f A Voyage to the Moon," published in 
1827 and reviewed by Dr. Dunglison in the " Amer 
ican Quarterly" for March, 1828. " Its evident 
aim was to fulfil for the existing age," says the Doctor, 
" what Swift had so successfully accomplished for that 
which had passed ; to attack, by the weapons of ridi 
cule, those votaries of knowledge who may have sought 
to avail themselves of the universal love of novelty 
amongst mankind to acquire celebrity, etc., who may 
have been misled by their own ill-regulated imagina 
tions to obtrude upon the world their crude and im 
perfect theories and systems, to the manifest retardation 
of knowledge." x 

It was at any rate the seed-time for this precocious 
genius who, according to every account, had already 
composed many a rhyme, even before he came to the 
University, and possessed a tropically luxuriant im 
agination only too ready to take in hints and suggestions 
from every quarter. 

His fondness for French and for France was evinced 
by the little episode in Richmond in 1824, when 
Lafayette visited the city, and by Poe s historical read 
ings in that language in 1826. In 1824 Lafayette 
had visited Jefferson and was superbly entertained at 
a banquet in one of the unfinished corridors of the 
Rotunda; and traditions still float about the ancient 
burgh of enthusiastic spectators watching the three 
presidents driving around in a coach with the French 
general as their guest. 

1 University of Virginia Magazine, XIX. 557. 


While Poe was at the University, the death of Jeffer 
son occurred, on the ever-memorable 4th of July, i 826, 
when he and his president-friend Adams passed over 
to the other shore on the same day. 

The years 1825, 1826, and 1827 were undoubtedly 
critical and crucial years in the history of the Univer 
sity. The novelty of the educational experiment, 
heralded far and wide over the continent ; the scepti 
cism with which it had been viewed by Northern 
specialists in pedagogy ; the doubt as to whether a 
faculty so thoroughly European could adapt itself to 
republican institutions ; the untried democratic govern 
ment of the students by themselves ; the abolition (so 
warmly advocated at Harvard by George Ticknor), 
of the ancient class system, and the wholesale intro 
duction of the elective system of the German univer 
sities, a hundred years in advance of the time ; the 
introduction of non-compulsory attendance at chapel 
and of optional military drill the very first year of the 
University ; the establishment of workshops for practi 
cal education in 1825 ; the encouragement of vacci 
nation by gratis treatment, inaugurated by the medical 
professors under the supervision of Jefferson were 
all items and experiments viewed, some with interest, 
others with amazement and incredulity by the peda 
gogues of the time. 

The Minutes of this period abound in allusions to 
the wildness and extravagance of the young men, 
peculiar not to the University, but common to the 
whole country during the first decades of the century. 
Boyish pranks of all kinds, such as ringing the college 
bell, firing of squibs and pistols, playing loo and 
whist, etc., are duly and solemnly recorded in these 
naive notes (which were never intended for the 


A/ - 

/>< v/^f at t 





Y c/ ^" 

v - < 

^ ^zs ^ 

Faculty Record for Dec. 20, 1826, containing an examination 

gambled wit 


<**>< j&* ,^<i -*-*-7V-w ^ ^ ^^ 

^N y^ 

^ ^*-*^ sfe**.*^? 




r^^-^ /yvv /*-..^^. t^t^^i^^M^i, *ZZ/o**r *r&s 

^"V,* 3 *^*- I/ *>-*?. * f^t^^^<e^--f^~J^ ^2. 

V? J?Ss+ ft, /^~* y^? 7 ^ 


the charge that the University hotel keepers drank and 


public eye), along with the mention of drinking 
"mint-slings," apple-toddy, and egg-nog, the keep 
ing of dogs by the students, gambling, riotous living, 
and licentious conduct. It was merely the bubbling, 
ebullient life of the Young Republic released for a 
moment from discipline, gambolling in its conscious 
strength, effervescing momentarily in intemperance and 
revelry, not essentially or irremediably bad. 

In fact, of the men who were at the University 
with Poe in 1826, a long and remarkable list may be 
compiled showing thirty or forty who became distin 
guished in various departments of literary, political or 
ecclesiastical life, his class-mates or intimate friends ; 
members of legislatures, members of Congress, con 
suls, generals, doctors of divinity, judges, a governor, 
chairmen of the Faculty, University professors, presi 
dents of colleges, missionaries, editors, scientists, 
officers in the United States and Confederate States 
armies, physicians, railroad presidents, a list l long 
and remarkable indeed, partially as follows : 

Baylor, Richard, Member Virginia Legislature. 

Boyd, T. J., Member Va. Legislature and of Board of 
Public Works. 

Brown, Algernon S., M.D. ; Member of La. Legislature. 

Brown, Geo. F. , U. S. Consul to Algiers. 

Burwell, Wm. M., Author, Editor of De Bow s Review. 

1 The list of contemporaries of Poe drawn up by Hon. 
Wm. M. Burwell (New Orleans Times Democrat for May 18, 
1884) is very inaccurate; ours is taken from the official catalogue 
of the University for 1826. 

This list was compiled for the editor by the obliging Librarian 
of the University, Mr. F. W. Page. 


Carter, John A.^Member of Va. Convention of 1850 $ 
Member Va. Legislature. 

Chalmers, Joseph W., Vice-Chancellor of Mississippi ; 
Member U. S. Senate ; Judge. 

Coleman, Henry E. , Member Va. Legislature 5 County 
Supt. Schools. 

Collier, Robert R. , Member Va. Senate, 
Daniel, Wm., Judge. 

Davis, J. A. G., Professor of Law and Chairman of 
Faculty U. Va. 

Dixon, Henry T. , Major and Paymaster U. S. A. 

Gholson, Thomas S., District Judge, Member of Con 
gress of Confederate States (Poe s intimate friend). 

Graham, Geo. Mason, Capt. U. S. Vol. Mexico ; Vice- 
President and Supervisor Louisiana State Military 
Academy ; Adj. Gen* 1 La. 

Harrison, Gessner, eminent philologist, Professor and 
Chairman of the Faculty of the University ofVa. 

Harvie, Lewis E. , Member of Va. Legislature, President 
R. & D. R. R. 

Holladay, Albert L., Presbyterian Minister, Missionary 
to Persia, President of Hampden-Sidney College. 

Hubard, Edmund W., Member of Congress. 

Hunter, R. M. T.,M. C. and U. S. Senator, Senator 
C. S., Secretary of State Confederate States, Treasurer 
of Virginia. 

Lee, Zaccheus C., An eloquent and able advocate, of 

Lewis, Geo. W. , Member of Va. Legislature ; Member 
Va. Senate 5 Judge. 



*^W v >?^erfM 

sSe^-f ft* ^&&s*^? & 


* *** * v> **f ^ 



Faculty Record for Dec. 20, 1826, containing an examinatio 

gambled w 





& ,S S # 

X ^ 

to the charge that the University hotel keepers drank and 


Loving, Wm. V., Common wealth s Attorney $ Judge. 
Magruder, B. H., Colonel 5 Member Va. Legislature. 

Magruder, John Bankhead, Capt. U. S. A. in Mexico j 
Maj.-Gen. C. S. A. 

Murphy, Wm. M., Member Alabama Legislature. 

Pleasants, Hugh R., Author, Editor of the Richmond 
Whig and of the Dispatch. 

Preston, John S., Orator, Brig. General C. S. A. 

Scott, Robert E. , Commonwealth s Attorney ; Member 
of Va. Legislature, Member of Virginia Convention 
of 1861. 

Shackelford, Henry, Member Va. Legislature ; Common 
wealth s Attorney ; Judge. 

Sims, Wm. D., Member Va. Legislature. 

Slaughter, Philip, Episcopal Minister 5 D.D., author, 
Historiographer of the Diocese of Virginia. 

Sothoron, J. H., Member Maryland Legislature. 

Swann, Thomas, Pres. B. & O. R. R., Mayor of Balti 
more, Governor of Maryland, Member of Congress. 

Taylor, Robert E., Member Va. Legislature. 

Taylor, Tazewell, Member Va. Convention of 1850 ; 
Col. C. S. A., Member of Va. Senate. 

Tutwiler, Henry, ist M.A. of the University of Vir 
ginia, University Professor in Alabama. 

Wallace, Robert; Member Va. Legislature. 

Wertenbaker, Wm., 42 years P.M. Univ. of Va., 43 
years librarian and secretary of the Faculty. 

Willis, John, Member Va. Legislature. 


It will thus be seen that there could have been in 
many respects no more admirable social and intellec 
tual environment in the United States for a young man 
of precocious promise than existed at the University of 
Virginia in 1826. The place was renowned for its 
hospitality, heightened by the delightful sociability that 
reigned at Monticello ; the faculty was full of brilliant 
men of European culture, distinguished or soon to be 
in various lines of literature and research ; while the 
vices prevalent at Charlottesville were only those prev 
alent all over the continents of America and Europe 
at the time. 

A sensitive youth, impressionable to all the fashions 
of the day, and surrounded by a social circle that 
thought convivial drinking and card-playing "At 
Homes" indispensable to remaining at all in polite 
society, would easily fall in with the habits of his 
" set," and perhaps cultivate them with passion and 
excess. It was the fault of the time, as the Essays of 
Elia and the contemporary novels will show to any one 
who is not maliciously predetermined to fix these vices 
on Poe alone. 

That Poe was not indifferent to the advantages of 
debate and of literary exercises is shown by his signa 
ture : "Edgar A. Poe, Secretary Jefferson Society," 
appended to the Minutes of the Jefferson Literary 
Society. 1 His own fine gifts of elocution were noted 
even when he was a child and continued to distinguish 
him all through his life, in public as well as in private. 
Many testimonials attest the beauty of his readings and 
recitals in parlor and hall, gifts inherited from his 
mother, who was both musically and dramatically en- 

1 It is well to add that some doubt has been thrown on the 
authenticity of this signature. 



dowed ; and these gifts were doubtless exercised in the 
halls of the Jefferson Society where so many future 
Congressmen and legislators were his compeers and 

The following extracts from the Faculty Minutes of 
December, 1826, give the finishing touch to Poe s 
career at the University of Virginia : 

At a meeting of the Faculty, December I5th, 

" Mr. Long made a report of the examination of the 
classes belonging to the School of Ancient Languages, 
and the names of the students who excelled at the ex 
amination of these classes : 

Senior Latin Class : 

GESSNER HARRISON of Rockingham. 
ALBERT L. HOLLADAY of Spottsylvania. 
EDGAR A. POE of Richmond City. 
etc., etc., etc." 

" The names of the students who excelled in the 
Senior French Class as reported by the Professor of 
Modern Languages were as follows : 


JOHN GARY of Campbell. 

GESSNER HARRISON of Rockingham. 

WM. MICHIE of Hanover. 

CONWAY NUTT of Culpepper. 

EDGAR A. POE of Richmond City. 

WM. SELDEN of Norfolk. 

HENRY TUTWILER of Rockingham." 


Thus Poe s University career was crowned with 
scholastic honors in the particular studies which he 
"elected" to pursue. He was only seventeen years of 
age, an orphan, the foster-son of a man who in the last 
six months had inherited a fortune : a child supremely 
gifted with the excitable poet s temperament and 
therefore easily urged to nervous excess, thrown sud 
denly, a mere boy, into the free-and-easy set of Uni 
versity students over whom, at the time, no restraints 
had been set. The wonder is that Edgar Poe did not 
turn out a complete reprobate instead of being men 
tioned in the final examination reports as " distin 
guished in Latin and French. During the next 
three or four years he still further distinguished himself 
by publishing three volumes of poems at eighteen, nine 
teen, and twenty-one years of age respectively, the 
product of these so-called dissipated years when he was 
supposed to be doing little or nothing. Ill-fitted as 
he was, yet, for his life-work, undisciplined, absolutely 
alone in the world, without a guiding hand to direct 
and lead him, the object of a capricious charity that 
might at any time instantaneously be withdrawn as 
actually happened a waif from the start, yet with" 
influential relations who never seem to have acknowl 
edged him, the eccentric lad of genius developed into 
the sensitive and sarcastic man with no weapon but his 
tongue and pen, urged by the irresistible force of his 
mind to write, to attempt creative work, to com 
pose poems from his tenth year, to long for public 

Apparently with little or no moral training, yet with 
an abnormal consciousness of conscience, the boy left the 
University to return to a home whither, as one of his 
early friends significantly remarks, be was never known 



to invite even his most intimate friend, in the sponta 
neity of boyish friendship ; a home now rendered chill 
ing and inhospitable from the rumors of his escapades 
at the University, which he was soon to leave, first for 
the Allan counting-house and then for the army, in 
the desperate endeavor to work out for himself a posi 
tion and a career. For the next three years the iron 
indeed entered into the soul of the boy ; his one solace 
was the beautiful gift of Poesy, which burst all bounds 
of restraint and was soon to revel in the bold and fan 
ciful lines of Al Aaraaf. 




IN the life of nearly every literary man who has 
occupied a conspicuous position in the world s eye 
there is a " dark period " a period of eclipse, obscu 
ration or hibernation during which he mysteriously 
disappears, as the religious recluse does in his periodical 
" retreat," and is lost to the public gaze. The literary 
historian immediately thinks of the seasons of obscura 
tion in the careers of Keats and Shelley, of Hugo and 
Heine, of Coleridge and Gray, of Chateaubriand and 
Gerard de Nerval to mention only a few modern 
instances and wonders what these men of genius 
were doing in the eclipse-period. 

Poe was no exception to a very general rule. The 
period 18271833 embraces more than a lustrum of 
shadow only a part of which has been skilfully illumi 
nated by Professor Woodberry s investigations. 

In December, 1826, Poe graduated in Latin and 
French at the University of Virginia. If one can re 
gard <f A Tale of the Ragged Mountains " as at all 
autobiographic and it is full of local and personal 
touches that cannot but be regarded as such he writes 
at the beginning of this tale : 

" During the fall of the year 1827, while residing 
near Charlottesville, Virginia, I casually made the 
acquaintance of Mr. Augustus Bedloe." 


This date does not harmonize by a few months with 
the now known army record of Poe, but it seems to 
show that he was at least in Virginia a part of the 
year 1827. The current account is, that he returned 
to Richmond, entered Mr. Allan s counting-room, 
quarrelled with his adopted father on account of the 
large "debts of honor " he had contracted at cards 
while at the University, and left the Allan home in 

This account is confirmed by Mr. Allan himself in 
a letter dated May 6, 1829, in which he says : 

" He [Poe] left me in consequence of some gam 
bling at the University at Charlottesville, because (I 
presume) I refused to sanction a rule that the shop 
keepers and others had adopted there, making Debts 
of Honour of all indiscretions. I have much pleasure 
in asserting that he stood his examination at the close 
of the year with great credit." l 

The second fact of importance for the year 1827 is 
the appearance at Boston, probably in June, of a 
diminutive volume : " Tamerlane and Other Poems. 
By a Bostonian : Boston : Calvin F. S. Thomas . . . 
Printer " : "the tiniest of tomes, numbering, inclusive 
of titles and half-titles, omy forty pages, and measuring 
6^ by 4.^6 inches. Its diminutiveness " (continues 
Mr. R. H. Shepherd), "probably quite as much as 
the fact that it was suppressed through circumstances 
of a private nature, accounts for its almost entire dis 
appearance. The motto on the title-page purports 
to be from Cowper : that from Martial, which closes 
the Preface (Nos baec novimus esse nib il} was, by a 
curious coincidence, the very same that figured on the 

1 Woodberry, Life, p. 42. 
VOL. I. 5 


title-page of Alfred and Charles Tennyson s Louth 

"In 1827, when the little Tamerlane booklet was 
thus modestly ushered into the world, Poe had not 
yet attained his nineteenth year. Both in promise and 
in actual performance, it may claim to rank as the most 
remarkable production that any English-speaking and 
English-writing poet of this century has published in 
his teens. 

" In this earliest form of it the poem which gives its 
chief title to the little volume is divided into seventeen 
sections, of irregular length, containing a total of 406 
lines. Tamerlane was afterwards remodelled and 
rewritten, from beginning to end, and in its final form, 
as it appeared in the author s edition of 1845, is 
divided into twenty-three sections, containing a total 
of 243 lines. Eleven explanatory prose notes are 
added, which disappear in all subsequent editions. . . . 
Of the nine Fugitive Pieces which follow, only 
three, and these in a somewhat altered form, were 
included by the author in his later collection. The 
remaining six have never been reprinted in book form " 
[this was in I884]. 1 

This precious little volume, only forty copies of 
which are said to have been printed, was published by 
the nineteen-year-old printer, Calvin F. S. Thomas, 
then living in Boston. Thomas afterwards moved 
West and died, probably in Springfield, Mo., in 1876, 
without being aware that he had ushered into the world 
the most unique specimen of American poetic genius. 

1 Tamerlane and Other Poems. By Edgar Allan Poe. First 
Published at Boston in 1827 and now First Republished from a 
Unique Copy of the Original Edition, with a Preface. By Richard 
Herne Shepherd. London : George Redway : MDCCCLXXXIV. 




Young heads are giddy and young beam are warm 
And make mistakes for manhood to reform. 





x. ^ 


The poor little volume is now one of the bibliophile s 
"nuggets," and a copy of it, going, at the McKee 
sale in November, 1900, for $2050, was immediately 
resold to Mr. F. R. Halsey at an advance of $500. 

Poe must have had these poems in his portfolio long 
before he went to the University ; some of them he 
claims to have written when he was ten years old, 
consequently when he was a pupil at Dr. Bransby s 
School. In their crude boyish metres one can feel the 
dancing Ariel spirit of his mother taking form in verse 
and reincarnating itself, Morella-like, in the work of 
the child. The elements of strangeness and beauty 
were all there ; quaintness and witchery echo from 
"those unusual strings," and the harp of Israfel is 
already attuning itself to extraordinary harmonies. 

The boy of eighteen writes the following Preface : 
" The greater part of the Poems which compose this 
little volume were written in the year 1821-22, when 
the author had not completed his fourteenth year. 
They were of course not intended for publication ; why 
they are now published concerns no one but himself. 
Of the smaller pieces very little need be said : they 
perhaps savour too much of egotism ; but they were 
written by one too young to have any knowledge of 
the world but from his own breast. 

"In Tamerlane he has endeavoured to expose 
the folly of even risking the best feelings of the heart 
at the shrine of Ambition. He is conscious that in 
this there are many faults (besides that of the general 
character of the poem), which he flatters himself he 
could, with little trouble, have corrected, but unlike 
many of his predecessors, he has been too fond of his 
early productions to amend them in his old age. 

(t We will not say that he is indifferent as to the 


success of these Poems it might stimulate him to 
other attempts but he can safely assert that failure 
will not at all influence him in a resolution already 
adopted. This is challenging criticism let it be so. 
Nos baec novimus esse nibil. 

This was the first of those defiant Prefaces which 
all his life after Poe was flinging like gauntlets in the 
faces of his critics : the attitude of one at bay, even 
then, in his teens. 

"The soul, which knows such power, will still 
Find Pride the ruler of its will 

a couplet imitated, consciously or unconsciously, by 
Cardinal Newman in his famous "Lead, Kindly 
Light" (" Pride ruled my will : remember not past 
days"). It gives the fundamental note of "Tam 
erlane," whose vagueness is also Poesque in its Ossianic 
nebulosity. It is full of Moore and Byron ("the 
sound of revelry by night actually occurs imbedded 
in the text, without quotation-marks) ; its metre is 
the ancient octosyllable of Gower and the pre-Chau- 
cerians, as if the lad had unconsciously reverted to 
ancestral musical conditions ; dreams, mysteries, 
blighted hopes, blasted expectations, visions of the 
night, terrors and tremblings, well up artificially or 
otherwise in the boy s imagination and point pro 
phetically almost mockingly to his future. A 
fitful melody, windlike in its aerial waywardness, flits 
through couplet and stanza and recalls the melodious 
friction of the air on the strings of a viol : a sigh, a 
murmuring of the waves, a whispering of parted lips, 
an elegy breathing from the tremulous pine-tops, could 
hardly be more faint, sprite-like, poetical than this 
zephyr-like music, this disembodied passion, these 


almost inorganic harmonies that each take a line as an 
oaten reed and utter silken cadences half song, half 
soliloquy. This little book is more like some extraor 
dinary child-musician s improvisations than anything 
else : shell-like murmurings, indefinite, unreal, almost 
spectral shadows of song here run up and down the 
keys with their flitting golden tones, now crushing all 
the wayward sweetness out of a trampled chord, now 
up and away through the ascending diapason of some 
chance-struck air, melting into the " choir invisible. * 
Trouble, passion, poignant regret are already there 
tumult of soul and body, uneasy visionings, phantasy 
surcharged with intimations of the supernatural, scorn, 
contempt, rebellion, angel pride, the "ill demons " 
of the latter day already foreshadowed in the plaintive 
susurrus of many a line, occur in Tamerlane and 
Other Poems in the fitful, unsubstantial flickerings 
of the phantasy of a gifted and unhappy boy who finds 
himself caught in print a Swanhilda without her 
magic raiment and wails in vain for the recovery of 
his incognito. 

Another fact of vital importance for the year 1827 
was Poe s enlistment at Boston in the army of the 
United States under the assumed name of Edgar A. 
Perry : a fact established by Professor Woodberry 
through Mr. Robert Lincoln, Secretary of War, and 
Adjutant- General Drum. This occurred in May, 
about the time of the publication of the Poems, and 
opens up one of the most honorable vistas in this short 
and tragic life. Poe may have been attracted to the 
army and, afterward, to West Point, from the fact of 
the University of Virginia having established a system 
of military drill in 1826, and from the further fact of 
one of his class-mates, John B. Magruder (afterwards 


the well-known Confederate general) having left the 
University that year for West Point. 

"The examination of documents " (says Professor 
Woodberry, in " The Atlantic Monthly " for Decem 
ber, 1884) "both at Washington and elsewhere has 
been exhaustive. From these papers it appears that 
on May 26, 1827, Poe enlisted at Boston in the army 
of the United States as a private soldier, under the 
name of Edgar A. Perry. He stated that he was 
born at Boston, and was by occupation a clerk ; and 
although minors were then accepted into the service, 
he gave his age as twenty-two years. He had, says 
the record, gray eyes, brown hair, and a fair com 
plexion ; was five feet eight inches in height. He 
was at once assigned to Battery H of the First Artil 
lery, then serving in the harbor at Fort Independence ; 
on October 3 1 the battery was ordered to Fort Moul- 
trie, Charleston, S. C., and exactly one year later to 
Fortress Monroe, Virginia. The officers under whom 
he served are dead, but it appears that he discharged 
his duties as company clerk and assistant in the com 
missariat department so as to win the goodwill of his 
superiors. On January i, 1829, he was appointed 
Sergeant-Major, a promotion which, by the invariable 
custom of the army, was given only for merit. He 
now made his circumstances known to Mr. Allan, and 
shortly after Mrs. Allan s death, February 28, 1829, 
he returned to Richmond on leave of absence. Of 
this furlough there is no record, but on February 28 
he is reported on the rolls as present for duty." 

The only discrepancy with the facts in this account 
is that of his personal appearance : he had black hair 
and a dark, clear, olive complexion, instead of the 
"brown hair and fair complexion" of the army de 


This account is further absolutely authenticated by 
the letters of Colonel James House, Adjutant-General 
Lowndes, Lieutenant-Colonel Worth, Captain Gris- 
wold, and Lieutenant Howard, three of whom were 
connected with the same regiment and one was com 
mandant of Fortress Monroe. 

The most gratifying feature of this discovery is that 
it not only eliminates from his biography the wild 
stories about Poe s journey to Europe in the cause of 
the Greeks, the escapade at St. Petersburg, and the 
romance of the French duel, novel, etc., but that it 
unfolds an admirable record of unblemished conduct, 
prompt and faithful performance of military duties, 
freedom from bad habits, and the unhesitating recom 
mendation of his superior officers. Lieutenant Howard 
admiringly writes of his " unexceptionable conduct " 
and his excellence as a clerk : "his habits are good, 
and entirely free from drinking. 

Captain Griswold testifies that "up to this date" 
(Jan. i, 1829), "he has been exemplary in his de 
portment, prompt and faithful in the discharge of his 
duties and is highly worthy of confidence. " 

Colonel Worth, in command of Fortress Monroe, 
adds : "I have known and had an opportunity of 
observing the conduct of the above-mentioned Sergeant- 
Major Poe some three months during which his de 
portment has been highly praiseworthy and deserving 
of confidence. His education is of a very high order 
and he appears to be free from bad habits, in fact the 
testimony of Lieutenant Howard and Adjutant Gris 
wold is full to that point. Understanding he is, thro 
his friends, an applicant for cadet s warrant, I unhesi 
tatingly recommend him as promising to acquit himself 
of the obligation of that station studiously and faith- 


Poe, having according to the army requirements 
procured a substitute, was honorably discharged from 
the service April 1 5, with this splendid record of silent 
and devoted service testified to by his army associates. 
The wayward, spoiled, impulsive boy had in two 
years turned out to be the conscientious, exemplary 
soldier a sergeant-major in his twentieth year. It 
is delightful indeed to substitute these creditable facts 
for the feverish romance and fabulous gossip of con 
temporaries who doubtless applied to Poe some of the 
adventures said to have occurred to his gifted but un 
fortunate elder brother, William Henry Leonard, who 
was a cadet in the navy and who died in July, 1831. 

Brilliant reminiscences of Poe s service in the army 
adhere to his South Carolina romance, "The Gold- 
Bug," to the " Balloon Hoax," and to the humorous 
"Man that was Used Up." 

Through these two eventful years, too, " Al Aaraaf 
and Minor Poems " was ripening in the young sol 
dier s brain and showing the ideal side of the mechani 
cal routine of the army. These shadowy years have 
left their crystalline deposit in poems, in which an in 
creasing purpose, a maturer power, a richer and less 
adumbrated imagination, a finer metrical skill are ap 
parent. Perhaps the precision of the army routine had 
something to do with the growing precision of Poe s 
style, a precision which grew on him while he lived 
and which is sometimes in his more faultless prose 
almost painful. His intense feeling for rhythm may 
have been energized by the measured tread of soldiers 
feet, the martial regularity of all their movements, the 
inflexible order of their evolutions, the symmetry of 
whatever they did. 

While the West Point project was maturing in his 


mind and purpose, he went to Baltimore, became more 
fully acquainted with his Maryland kindred, and was 
introduced to William Gwynn, editor of " The 
Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser," to 
whom he showed the MS. of Al Aaraaf." About 
this MS. he fell into correspondence with John Neal 
of Boston, then editor of "The Yankee and Boston 
Literary Gazette," a man who proved a lifelong friend 
of the penniless author and who gave him through the 
columns of "The Yankee " excellent literary advice. 
The communications between author and editor ap 
peared in the new series, iii, 168, and vi. 295298, 
and the journal contains two poems by Poe not hitherto 
found in any collected edition of his works. One of 
them is called " The Magician " and is as follows : 



Thou dark, sea-stirring Storm, 

Whence comest thou in thy might ? 
Nay ; wait, thou dim and weary form, 

Storm-spirit, I call thee t is mine of right, 

Arrest thee in thy troubled flight. 


Thou askest me whence I came, 
I came o er the sleeping sea ; 

It roused at my torrent of storm and flame, 
And howled aloud in its agony, 
And swelled to the sky that sleepy sea. 

Thou askest me what I met 
A ship from the Indian shore ; 


A tall, proud ship with her sails all set, 
Far down in the sea that ship I bore 
My storm s wild rushing wings before. 

And her men will forever lie 
Below the unquiet sea ; 

And tears will dim full many an eye 

Of those who shall widows and orphans be, 
And their days be years for their misery. 

A boat with a starving crew, 

For hunger they starved and swore, 

While the blood from a fellow s veins they drew, 
I came upon them with rush and roar 
Far under the waves that boat I bore. 

Two ships in a fearful fight, 

Where a hundred guns did flash : 

I came upon them no time for flight, 
But under the sea their timbers crash, 
And over their guns the wild waves dash. 

A wretch on a single plank, 

And I tossed him on the shore ; 

A night and a day of the sea he drank, 

But the wearied wretch to the land I bore, 
And now he walketh the earth once more. 


Storm-spirit, go on thy path ! 

The spirit has spread his wings, 
And comes on the sea with a rush of wrath, 

As a war-horse when he springs ; 
And over the earth nor stop nor stay 
The winds of the Storm King go out on their way. 








" Early in 1829 " (says Mr. E. L. Didier, in his 
Biography, p. 39) " we find Poe in Baltimore, with 
a manuscript volume of verses, which in a few months 
was published in a thin octavo, bound in boards, 
crimson sprinkled, with yellow linen back. . . . The 
Peabody Library of Baltimore has a copy of this rare 
volume, which I have carefully examined. It num 
bers seventy-one pages. On the sixth page is the 
Dedication : 

" f Who drinks the deepest? Here s to him. 
Al Aaraaf is printed the same as now, except 
eight unimportant verbal changes. < Tamerlane, which 
is dedicated to John Neal, is preceded by an advertise 
ment, as follows : This poem was printed for publi 
cation in Boston, in the year 1827, but suppressed 
through circumstances of a private nature. There is 
only one word changed in the whole poem. After 
Tamerlane follow nine miscellaneous poems, all of 
which, with the exception of the first and part of the 
eighth, are in the last editions of Poe s works. The 
first of these miscellaneous poems consists of four stan 
zas, and is headed To . It has never been 

reprinted in full, but the third stanza contains the germ 
of A Dream within a Dream. " 

"The book" (adds Mr. Didier) "was printed by 
Matchett & Woods, who printed the Baltimore City 
Directory for nearly half a century. * 

So far from there being "only one word changed" 
in the "Tamerlane," it was entirely rewritten. 

Of "Al Aaraaf" the critics have made a nine 
days wonder : its melodious incoherence has left it a 
jumble of jewelled words that have caught their irides 
cence partly from Moore and partly from the inconse 
quence and nebulous radiance of the poet s nascent 


fancy. Poe himself says, in his letter to Neal, " C A1 
Aaraaf 1 has some good poetry, and much extrava 
gance, which I have not had time to throw away. 
<A1 Aaraaf is a tale of another world the star dis 
covered by Tycho Brahe, which appeared and disap 
peared so suddenly or rather, it is no tale at all." 
It is indeed a tale with the "tale" left out. 

It was unfavorably reviewed by the Baltimore 
" Minerva and Emerald " edited by J. H. Hewitt and 
Rufus Dawes, the latter of whom Poe remembered 
later among those whom he flagellated in " Minor 

1 " * Al Araf, or Al Aaraaf, as the poet preferred styling it, 
is designed by the Mahommedan imagination as an abode wherein 
a gentle system of purgatory is instituted for the benefit of those 
who, though too good for hell, ere not fitted for heaven." 
Ingram, I., 78. 





AT the beginning of 1829, the beloved first Mrs. 
Allan (Miss F. K. Valentine, cousin of the sculptor) 
died, February 28, leaving Poe bereft of his truest 
friend. It is said that he reached Richmond the day 
after her burial, which took place at Shockoe Hill 
Cemetery, where a fitting memorial stone was erected 
to her memory by her husband. 

Not many months after this Mr. Allan (after ad 
dressing Miss Anne Valentine, sister of his deceased 
wife, and being rejected) was united in marriage, Oc 
tober 5, 1830, to Miss Louisa Gabriella Patterson of 
New York, of whom the following authentic sketch 
has been kindly furnished the writer by a member of 
the lady s family : 

" Mrs. Louisa Gabriella Allan was born in the City 
of New York, March 24, 1800. Her mother was 
Miss Louisa De Hart, daughter of John De Hart, a 
member of the Continental Congress of 177476 
from New Jersey, Attorney- General of his State, a 
lawyer of great distinction and a man of large means 
and influence. Her father was Mr. John William Pat 
terson, a lawyer of New York, a son of Capt. John 
Patterson of the English army who married Catharine 
Livingston of Livingston Manor, N. Y., and was the 


first U. S. Collector of the port of Philadelphia after 
the Revolution. Mrs. Allan was a niece of Mrs. 
Col. John Mayo (nee De Hart) of Belleville near 
Richmond, and it was when on a visit to her aunt 
that she first met Mr. Allan, who became at once 
very much enamoured with her and subsequently 
married her at her father s house in New York City, 
October 5, 1830. Mrs. Allan was a lady of much 
stateliness and dignity, and of great firmness and de 
cision of character, very clannish in her feelings, and 
while apparently very calm and reserved in manner, 
had one of the warmest hearts in the world, was a firm 
and steadfast friend and profuse in concealed and un 
ostentatious charities. She had three children, all sons 
John, William Gait, and Patterson, all of whom 
died during her life, John leaving two children, 
Hoffman Allan now of Danville, Va., and Louisa G., 
now Mrs. W. R. Pryor of New York. William G. 
left no issue. Patterson had two children, Genevieve, 
now Mrs. Dwight Montague, and John, who died 
young. After her sons became of age Mrs. Allan s 
house was the centre of Richmond hospitality, and the 
beauty and frequency of her entertainments were pro 
verbial and few visitors of prominence failed to par 
take of them, but while the acknowledged leader in 
society her prominent characteristics were unaltered. 
She was the fond mother, cherished friend, and quiet 
dispenser of many charities, not impulsive but con 
stantly flowing, and many a home of her impoverished 
friends has been blest by her thoughtful considera 
tion and practical affection. Mrs. Allan was of mas 
culine personality and of so much impressiveness and 
attraction that few who met can forget her ; and though 
the war had to a great extent swept away her wealth, 



and the death of loved ones saddened her life, she yet 
remained the same lovely, dignified, and respected lady 
to the end, which occurred April 24, 1881, forty- 
seven years after the death of her beloved husband, by 
whose side she now lies in Shockoe Hill Cemetery." 

In securing the West Point position which then 
commanded a salary of $28 a month, besides subsist 
ence and instruction Poe was fortunate in obtaining 
letters from Mr. A. Stevenson, speaker of the House 
of Representatives, and three eminent Virginians, John 
Campbell, James P, Preston, and Powhatan Ellis, 
senator from Mississippi, uncle of Col. Thomas H. 
Ellis, who furnished us with the interesting recollections 
in Chapter I. These were supplemented and rein 
forced by letters from Mr. Allan to Major John Eaton, 
then Secretary of War. 

The appointment was really due to Senator Ellii.. 

The reason why Mr. Ellis became interested in Poe 
vvas that he was a younger brother of Mr. Allan s 
partner, and Mr. Allan would naturally mention to 
50 influential an acquaintance his desire to get Edgar 
the appointment. While waiting for the appointment, 
Poe had passed the legal age of twenty-one ; but he 
did not scruple to report his age as nineteen years and 
five months. 

So July i, 1830, he entered the Academy at West 
Point, which had been founded in 1802 and was con 
sidered a most desirable opening for a penniless young 
man on account of the income of $336 (afterwards 
increased to $540) attached to a cadetship, and the 
possibility of a rapid rise in the profession. Poe had 
martial blood in his veins ; he had had two years of 
admirable practical training in the artillery branch of 


the service ; he was an excellent mathematician and 
linguist ; and there was every reason to hope that he 
would ultimately attain the rank of his grandfather, 
Quartermaster-General Poe. 

The years 1829 and 1830 were very stirring ones 
in the ancient Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1829 
the famous Convention to revise the Constitution as 
sembled in Richmond, and included among its num 
ber more distinguished men than any other public body 
perhaps that ever assembled in the United States. 
Among these were ex-presidents Madison and Monroe, 
Chief Justice Marshall, John Randolph of Roanoke, 
and a host of other famous Virginians who made the 
little town ring with their eloquence, and all through 
the winter of 1829-30 elaborated changes in the Con 
stitution connected with the suffrage and other im 
portant questions. The lobbies of the old State-house 
(planned by Jefferson) and the inns on Main and 
Broad Streets hummed with voices discussing the 
momentous questions of statecraft ; the streets and 
private houses were full of historic figures come to lend 
their aid in settling the vexed questions ; and Poe 
doubtless heard many a voice that had been listened to 
in Revolutionary times as the Convention proceeded 
with its order of business. Gentlemen in tie-wigs, 
knee-buckles, and black stocks were seen everywhere; 
and it was a resurrection of the olden times. 

The atmosphere of West Point was very different 
from the bland and genial social environment of Rich 
mond with its freedom from restraints, its air of uni 
versal bonhomie and relationship - everybody was a 
tf Virginia cousin " to everybody else its social card- 
playing, drinking, smoking, and leisurely practice of 
the professions. 


The Academy occupied the site of a ruined fortress 
captured by the British in the War of Independence, 
and towered aloft on a plateau nearly two hundred feet 
above the Hudson in a scene of landscape beauty 
almost unrivalled. Instead of the social relaxation of 
Richmond, a rigorous discipline reminded the nearly 
three hundred young men that there were three hun 
dred offences scheduled for which they could be 
punished; that they had "signed" for five years as 
servants of the United States ; and that for the four 
years course they could hope only for ten weeks 
vacation in all. It was even whispered around that 
less than half of those who hopefully entered on the 
courses ever graduated. 

A remarkable assemblage of young men were gath 
ered at West Point the half-year Poe was there, among 
them the following : 

WEST POINT IN 1830 :i 

[To the names given below, annotated by General Wilson, may 
be added that of Thomas H. Williamson, Va., many years pro 
fessor, with Stonewall Jackson and Commodore M. F. Maury, at 
the Virginia Military Institute : appointed General by the Governor 
of Virginia.] 

Class of 1830, U. S. M. A. 

Rev. Francis Vinton, D.D., of Rhode Island. Distin 
guished clergyman of the P. E. Church. No. 4 in 
his class. Died in 1872. 

1 This list has been kindly compiled for this work by Cadet 
W. D. A. Anderson of West Point ; and the biographical memo 
randa have been supplied by General James Grant Wilson to whom 
thanks are returned for the courtesy. 
VOL, I. -6 


Rev. W. N. Pendleton, of Va. No. 5 in his class. Be 
came a General in the Confederate Service. Died in 

Brevet Lieut. -Col. John B. Magruder, of Va. Served 
in the Mexican War, and became a General in the 
Confederate Army. Died 1871. 

Brig. -Gen. Robert C. Buchanan, of Md. Served with 
distinction in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Died in 

Class of i8ji. 

Rev. Roswell Park, D.D., of Ct. Distinguished Clergy 
man, Professor, and Poet. Graduated No. i in his 
class, and resigned from the army in 1835. Died in 

Gen. Jacob Ammen, of Va. (Brig. -Gen. of Vols.). In 
timate friend of General Grant. Died in 1894. 

Brevet Major-Gen. Andrew A. Humphreys, of Pa. 
Served in the Mexican and Civil Wars. Chief of 
Engineer Corps. Died in 1883. 

Brevet Major-Gen. W. H. Emory, of Maryland. Died 
in 1887. 

Samuel R. Curtis, of Ohio, Major-Gen. Vols. Died 
in 1866. 

Class of 1832. 

President Benjamin S. Ewell, of D. C. Graduated No. 
3 in the class. Distinguished General in the Con 
federate Army. Died in 1894. 

Brevet Brig. -Gen. Erasmus D. Keyes, of Mass., Major- 
Gen. Vols. and Corps Commander Army Potomac. 
Died in 1895. 

Lieut. Tench Tilghman, of Md. Became General in 
the Confederate Service. Died in 1874. 


Lieut.-Col. George B. Crittenden, of Ky., son of U. S. 
Senator Crittenden. Became General in the Confed 
erate Army. Died in 1880. 

Brevet Brig. -Gen. Randolph B. Marcy, of Wash. In 
spector-General U. S. Army. Daughter married Gen 
eral McClellan. Died in 1887. 

Lieut. Humphrey Marshall, of Ky. Colonel of Ken 
tucky Volunteers in war with Mexico and General in 
Confederate Army. Died in 1872. 

Class of 1833. 

Capt. Frederic A. Smith, of Mass. Graduated at the 
head of his class. Engineer Officer U. S. A. Died 
in 1842. 

Major-General John G. Barnard, of Mass, zd in the 
class. Distinguished Engineer Officer in the Civil 
War and Author of Military Monographs. Died in 
1882. Brother of President Barnard of Columbia 

Brevet Major-Gen. George W. Cullum, of New York. 
3d in class. Meritorious Officer of Engineer Corps 
and military author who left $250,000 for the Cullum 
Memorial at West Point. Died in 1892. 

Brig. -Gen. Rufus King, U. S. V., of New York. 4th 
in class. Minister to Italy and Journalist. Son of 
President Charles King of Columbia. Died in 1876. 

Colonel Francis H. Smith, of Virginia. 5th in class, 
Prof, and later Superintendent with rank of General in 
Virginia Mil. Institute. General in the Confederate 
Army. Died in 1890. 

Brevet Lieut.-Col. William Bliss, of New York, gth in 
class. Served in Mexican War. Private Secy, and 
son-in-law of President Taylor. Died in 1853. (His 
widow, Mrs. Dandridge, still living.) 


Brevet Major-Gen. Edmund Schirer, of Pa. Meritorious 
Officer during the Civil War. Inspector General 
U. S. A. Died 1899. 

Brevet Major-Gen. Alexander E. Shiras, of Pa. Meritori 
ous Officer Subsistence Dept. U. S. A. Died in 1875. 

Brevet Brig. -Gen. Benjamin Alvord, of Vt. Served in 
the Mexican and Civil Wars. Author of Essays and 
Reviews. Died in 1884. 

Brevet Brig. -Gen. Henry W. Wessells, of Ct. Died in 

Colonel Henry L. Scott, of N. C., son-in-law of Gen. 
Winfield Scott. Died in 1886. 

Brevet Lieut. -Col. Daniel Ruggles, of Mass. Served in 
Mexican War, and General in the Confederate Army. 
Died in 18-97. 

Just as in the case of Poe s contemporaries at the 
University of Virginia we find him here at West Point 
thrown with the best blood of the country : General 
Robert E. Lee had graduated the year before, and a 
long line of illustrious soldiers and statesmen followed 
the mercurial poet. Unfortunately, Poe soon began 
to chafe under the discipline, though he stood high 
and well in his classes : third in French and seven 
teenth in mathematics, in a class of eighty-seven. One 
of his contemporaries there indeed writes : " He was 
an accomplished French scholar, and had a wonderful 
aptitude for mathematics, so that he had no difficulty 
in preparing his recitations in his class and in obtaining 
the highest marks in these departments. He was a 
devourer of books, but his great fault was his neglect 
of and apparent contempt for military duties. His 
wayward and capricious temper made him at times 


utterly oblivious or indifferent to the ordinary routine 
of roll-calls, drills, and guard duties. These habits 
subjected him often to arrest and punishment, and 
effectually prevented his learning or discharging the 
duties of a soldier." 

In what singular contrast this Poe is to the honor 
ably discharged United States soldier who distinguished 
himself for two years by the most exemplary conduct ! 
The only explanation is that either Poe and Perry 
were different beings or that Poe s <( Imp of the 
Perverse " was now in the ascendant, and that, learn 
ing in October of Mr. Allan s second marriage, he 
went to work deliberately to undo his excellent record 
and get himself, by insubordination and neglect of 
duty, courtmartialled and expelled from the Academy, 
with a view to pursuing a literary career. 

"Harper s Magazine" for November, 1867, con 
tains some highly colored though not incredible ac 
counts of " Poe at West Point," written thirty-seven 
years after the events by Mr. T. H. Gibson : 

" Number 28 South Barracks, in the last months 
of the year of our Lord 1830, was pretty generally 
regarded as a hard room. Cadets who aspired to high 
standing on the Merit Roll were not much given to 
visiting it, at least in daytime. To compensate in 
some measure for this neglect, however, the inspecting 
officer was uncommonly punctual in his visits, and rarely 
failed to find some object for his daily report of de 
merit. The old barracks have passed away, and are 
now only a dream of stone and mortar ; but the 
records of the sins of omission and commission of 
Number 28 and its occupants remain, and are filed 

1 A. B. Magruder to Professor Woodberry : Life, p. 55. 


carefully away among the dusty archives of the Aca 

" Edgar A. Poe was one of the occupants of the 

room. Old P and the writer of this sketch 

completed the household. The first conversation I 
had with Poe after we became installed as room-mates 
was characteristic of the man. A volume of Camp 
bell s Poems was lying upon our table, and he tossed 
it contemptuously aside, with the curt remark : < Camp 
bell is a plagiarist ; then without waiting for a reply 
he picked up the book, and turned the leaves over 
rapidly until he found the passage he was looking for. 

" There, said he, is a line more often quoted 
than any other passage of his : " Like angel visits few 
and far between," and he stole it bodily from Blair s 
(f Grave." Not satisfied with the theft, he has 
spoiled it in the effort to disguise it. Blair wrote : 
"Like angel visits SHORT and far between." Camp 
bell s " Few and far between " is mere tautology. 

" Poe at that time, though only about twenty years 
of age, had the appearance of being much older. He 
had a worn, weary, discontented look, not easily for 
gotten by those who were intimate with him. Poe 
was easily fretted by any jest at his expense, and was 
not a little annoyed by a story that some of the class 
got up, to the effect that he had procured a cadet s ap 
pointment for his son, and the boy having died, the 
father had substituted himself in his place. Another 
report current in the corps was that he was a grandson 
of Benedict Arnold. Some good-natured friend told 
him of it, and Poe did not contradict it, but seemed 
rather pleased than otherwise at the mistake. 

" Very early in his brief career at the Point he 
established a high reputation for genius, and poems and 


squibs of local interest were daily issued from Number 
28 and went the round of the classes., One of the 
first things of the kind that he perpetrated was a dia 
tribe in which all of the officers of the Academy, from 
Colonel Thayer down, were duly if not favorably 
noticed. I can recall but one stanza. It ran thus : 

" John Locke was a very great name ; 
Joe Locke was a greater in short ; 
The former was well known to Fame, 
The latter well known to Report. 

" Joe Locke, it may be remarked by way of explana 
tion, was one of the instructors of tactics, and ex-officio 
Inspector of Barracks, and supervisor of the morals and 
deportment of cadets generally. In this capacity it 
was his duty to report to head-quarters every violation 
of the regulations falling under his observation ; a duty 
in which he was in nowise remiss, as the occupants of 
Number 28 could severally testify. 

" The studies of the Academy Poe utterly ignored. 
I doubt if he ever studied a page of Lacroix, unless it 
was to glance hastily over it in the lecture-room, while 
others of his section were reciting. It was evident 
from the first that he had no intention of going through 
with the course, and both the Professors and Cadets 
of the older classes had set him down for a January 
colt before the corps had been in barracks a week. 

" Poe disappointed them, however, for he did not 
remain until the January examination, that pons asin- 
orum of plebe life at West Point. He resigned, I 
think, early in December, having been a member of 
the corps a little over five months. 

" Some month or two after he had left, it was an 
nounced that a volume of his poems would be pub- 


lished by subscription, at the price of two dollars and 
fifty cents per copy. Permission was granted by 
Colonel Thayer to the corps to subscribe for the book, 
and as no cadet was ever known to neglect any op 
portunity of spending his pay, the subscription was 
pretty nearly universal. The book was received with 
a general expression of disgust. It was a puny volume, 
of about fifty pages, bound in boards and badly printed 
on coarse paper, and worse than all, it contained not 
one of the squibs and satires upon which his reputation 
at the Academy had been built up. Few of the poems 
contained in that collection now appear in any of the 
editions of his works, and such as have been preserved 
have been very much altered for the better. 

"For months afterward quotations from Poe formed 
the standing material for jests in the corps, and his 
reputation for genius went down at once to zero. I 
doubt if even the Raven J of his after years ever en 
tirely effaced from the minds of his class the impression 
received from that volume. 

" The unfortunate habit that proved the bane of his 
after-life had even at that time taken strong hold upon 
him, and Number 28 was seldom without a bottle of 
Benny Haven s best brandy. I don t think he was 
ever intoxicated while at the Academy, but he had 
already acquired the more dangerous habit of constant 

"Keeping up the communications with our base of 
supplies at Old Benny s was one of the problems 
that occupied a good deal more of our thoughts than 
any of the propositions in Legendre; but, upon the 
whole, this branch of the commissary department of 
Number 28 was a success ; and many a thirsty soul, 
with not enough of pluck to run the blockade himself, 


would steal into our room between tattoo and taps to 
try the merits of the last importation. 

" The result of one of these foraging parties after 
supplies created for a time no little excitement in the 
South Barracks. People had been burned and hung in 
effigy, from time immemorial, but it was reserved for 
Number 28 to witness the eating of a Professor in 

" It was a dark, cold, drizzling night, in the last days 
of November, when this event came off. The brandy 
bottle had been empty for two days, and just at dusk 
Poe proposed that we should draw straws the one 
who drew the shortest to go down to Old Benny s 
and replenish our stock. The straws were drawn, 
and the lot fell on me. 

"Provided with four pounds of candles and Poe s 
last blanket, for traffic (silver and gold we had not, but 
such as we had we gave unto Benny), I started just as 
the bugle sounded to quarters. It was a rough road 
to travel, but I knew every foot of it by night or day, 
and reached my place of destination in safety, but 
drenched to the skin. Old Benny was not in the best 
of humors that evening. Candles and blankets and 
regulation shoes, and similar articles of traffic, had 
accumulated largely on his hands, and the market for 
them was dull in that neighborhood. His chicken 
suppers and bottles of brandy had disappeared very 
rapidly of late, and he had received little or no money 
in return. 

" At last, however, I succeeded in exchanging the 
candles and blanket for a bottle of brandy and the 
hardest-featured, loudest-voiced old gander that it has 
ever been my lot to encounter. To chop the bird s 
head off before venturing into barracks with him was 


a matter of pure necessity ; and thus, in fact, old 
Benny rendered him before delivery. I reached the 
suburbs of the barracks about nine o clock. The bottle 
had not as much brandy in it as when I left Old 
Benny s ; but I was very confident I had not spilled 
any. I had carried the gander first over one shoulder 
and then over the other, and the consequence was that 
not only my shirt front, but my face and hands were 
as bloody as the entire contents of the old gander s 
veins and arteries could well make them. 

" Poe was on the lookout, and met me some distance 
from the barracks, and my appearance at once inspired 
him with the idea of a grand hoax. Our plans were 
perfected in an instant. The gander was tied, neck 
and feet and wings together, and the bloody feathers 
bristling in every direction gave it a nondescript ap 
pearance that would have defined recognition as a 
gander by the most astute naturalist on the Continent. 
Poe took charge of the bottle, and preceded me to 
the room. Old P. was puzzling his brains over 
the binomial theorem, and a visitor from the North 
Barracks was in the room awaiting the result of my 

" Poe had taken his seat, and pretended to be ab 
sorbed in the mysteries of * L^ons Franchises. Laying 
the gander down at the outside of the door, I walked 
or rather staggered into the room, pretending to be 
very drunk, and exhibiting in clothes and face a spec 
tacle not often seen off the stage. My God ! what 
has happened ? exclaimed Poe, with well-acted 

< Old K , old K ! I repeated several 

times, and with gestures intended to be particularly 


" Well, what of him ? asked Poe. 

" He won t stop me on the road any more ! and 
I produced a large knife that we had stained with the 
few drops of blood that remained in the old gander. 
I have killed him ! 

" Nonsense ! said Poe, you are only trying one 
of your tricks on us. 

" I didn t suppose you would believe me, I re 
plied ; so I cut off his head and brought it into 
barracks. Here it is ! * and reaching out of the door 
I caught the gander by the legs, and giving it one fear 
ful swing around my head dashed it at the only candle 
in the room, and left them all in darkness with what 
two of them believed to be the head of one of the Pro 
fessors. The visitor leaped through the window and 
alighted in the slop-tub, and made fast time for his 
own room in the North Barracks spreading, as he 

went, the report that I had killed old K , and that 

his head was then in Number 28. The story gained 
ready credence, and for a time the excitement in bar 
racks ran high. When we lit the candle again, Old 

P was sitting in one corner, a blank picture of 

horror, and it was some time before we could restore him 
to reason. 

" The gander was skinned picking the feathers off 
was out of the question and after taps we cut him up 
in small pieces, and cooked him in a tin wash-basin, 
over an anthracite fire, without seasoning of any kind. 
It was perhaps the hardest supper on record, but we 
went through with it without flinching. We had set 

out to eat old K in effigy, and we did it ; whether 

he ever learned of the honors we paid him that night I 
never learned. 

" Upon the whole the impression left by Poe in his 


short career at West Point was highly favorable to 
him. If he made no fast friends, he left no enemies 
behind him. But up to that time he had given no in 
dications of the genius which has since secured for him 
a world-wide fame. His acquaintance with English 
literature was extensive and accurate, and his verbal 
memory wonderful. He would repeat both prose and 
poetry by the hour, and seldom or never repeated the 
same passage twice to the same audience. 

" The whole bent of his mind at that time seemed 
to be toward criticism or, more properly speaking, 
caviling. Whether it were Shakspeare or Byron, Ad- 
dison or Johnson the acknowledged classic or the 
latest poetaster all came in alike for his critical cen 
sure. He seemed to take especial delight in caviling at 
passages that had received the most unequivocal stamp 
of general approval. I never heard him speak in terms 
of praise of any English writer, living or dead. I never 
met him after he left the Academy in December, I 830 ; 
and hence my recollections and impressions of him are 
Wholly uninfluenced by his after-life." 

He was courtmartialled and dismissed from the 
Academy for disobedience to orders and absence from 
roll-calls, guard-duty, and class-work, the sentence 
taking effect March 6, 1831. 

This third crisis-point of his career was signalized 
by a third volume of Poems, published by Elam Bliss 
of New York and subscribed to, at seventy-five cents 
a copy, by his fellow-cadets. They, supposing the 
volume to contain squibs and pasquinades, satires and 
jokes against the professors, were, it is said, egregiously 
disappointed on receiving the volume, to find it con 
tained only " Israfel," " To Helen," " Lenore" 
(in its first version), "The Sleeper," " The Valley 
of Unrest," and other masterpieces ! 


Guffaws of amazement received this third venture 
of " Gaffy " Poe, according to General Cullum, who 
instead of using the marvellous tambour of Heine s 
Monsieur Le Grand to convey his meaning to the 
world, had simply picked up a golden strand from 
Israfel s harp and strung it in the world s window. 

The Dedication read : 

To the U. S. Corps of Cadets 
This Volume 

Respectfully Dedicated. 

Then follows, a few pages later, the long and ram 
bling "Letter to Mr. ," afterwards re 
printed in the "Southern Literary Messenger " for 
July, 1836, and containing Poe s peculiar views of 
Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the Lake School. This 
is followed by the following eleven poems : Introduc 
tion ("Romance, who loves to nod and sing "), "To 
Helen," " Israfel," " The Doomed City," "Fairy 
Land," "Irene," "AP<ean," The Valley Nis ;" 
" Al Aaraaf," Parts i and ii, Sonnet ("Science"), 
"Tamerlane:" in all one hundred and twenty-four 
duodecimo pages, in green boards. 

Nearly all the rubbish of the earlier volumes has been 
dropped : " the trash shaken from them in which they 
were embedded," says Poe in the prefatory letter to 

" Dear B ." The sculptor is busy hewing away 

at the marble the brilliant chips flying and draw 
ing forth the delicate imprisoned image from the envel 
oping chalk. In three years a wonderful gain in 
precision, defmiteness, lucidity, music, has taken place. 
What before was as uncertain as a choir of whispering 


reeds along a river s marge, as vague as the crescendo 
and diminuendo of the footfalls of the wandering winds 
at night, has gathered itself into focal form and becomes 
incarnate in the stanzas of " Helen " and " Israfel." 
The poet of twenty-one is still awkward, clumsy, 
stumbling in rhyme and metre, a prentice in the nice 
ties of verse, yet haunted by inexpressible verbal melo 
dies, as voluptuous as Spenser in the rippling flow of 
some lines, as gauche as Whitman in the hiatuses of 
others. The volume of 1831 is the visible parturition 
of a great poet whose complete birth will require fifteen 
years more. The increasing delicacy of perception 
and feeling, the sentiment of the magical beauty of the 
world, and of its mystery, the consciousness of the 
harmonies that well up from mere words in their vowel 
and consonantal combinations and contrasts, the poetry 
that there is in Death, in Doom, in Sorrow, in Sin 
(carried to an extreme by his admirer and imitator, 
Baudelaire, in his " Fleurs du Mai ") all haunt this 
plastic young imagination with their soft and vivid 
blandishments and blow their triton-horns in his subtle 
ear, enticing to new and sometimes happier fields. 

"Second edition" on the title-page of this little 
work means that this volume was regarded by its author 
as the book of 1829 with some things left out. His 
statement is : " Believing only a portion of my former 
volume to be worthy a second edition that small 
portion I thought it as well to include in the present 
book as to republish by itself. I have therefore herein 
combined Al Aaraaf and Tamerlane with other 
Poems hitherto unprinted." 

The "other Poems hitherto unprinted " must be 
the product of the year 1830, in between the 1829 
and the I 83 1 volumes, and they are perhaps the only 









poems of this period that will live the eight beauti 
ful minor poems of the collection composed either at 
West Point between July I, 1830, and January I, 
1831, or during that period and the preceding six 
months when the poet was idle and waiting for his 
cadet s commission. Viewed in this light, the 
Paean " may be in its first draft a memorial dirge in 
memory of the first Mrs. Allan. All accounts say 
that the two were very fond of each other, and the 
poem brims with a heartfelt feeling that no mere ficti 
tious incident could have inspired. 

Just the year before Tennyson had published 
" Poems chiefly Lyrical," and certainly this collec 
tion contains nothing of finer edge or dreamier grace 
than Poe s work, which was contemporary with it; 
while for 1829 Poe s "Al Aaraaf " may certainly com 
pare favorably with Tennyson s prize-poem " Tim- 
buctoo," of the same year. 





IT is at this point from March, 1831 to the sum 
mer of 1833 tna t P e s biography slips within the 
penumbra of almost total obscurity. 1 Now, if at all, 
occurred those wanderings of the new Odysseus of 
which Burwell, Mrs. Shelton, Mr. Ingram, even Mrs. 
Allan (in her letter to Colonel T. H. Ellis) speak 
the Russian journey, the French adventure, etc., the 
former of which Poe left uncontradicted in Hirst s 
biography of him, the latter he is reported to have re 
lated to Mrs. Marie Louise Shew in a supposed death 
bed confession. A hiatus of two years and a half 
occurred during which the only glimmering of light is 
afforded by a letter from Poe to William Gwynn, a 
Baltimore editor, dated May 6th, 1831, referring to 
Mr. Allan s second marriage, and to Poe s own fool 
ish conduct on a former occasion, and asking for em 
ployment of some kind, "salary a minor consideration." 
None seems to have been forthcoming, nor could Mr. 
N. C. Brooks (afterwards well known as an editor 
and litterateur ) procure him even an usher s place in 
his school. 

Another glimmer proceeds from a paper in " Har 
per s " for March, 1889, entitled "Poe s Mary," 
by Augustus van Cleef, according to which Poe spent 

1 See Appendix to Letters, for a recently discovered letter of Poe 
on this subject. 


the year immediately following his dismissal from West 
Point, with his aunt Mrs. Clemm, in Baltimore. If 
one can credit the statements of this paper, which pur 
port to be the story of Poe s love for a Baltimore girl 
of that time, the poet had just returned from the 
Academy, was a handsome, fascinating young man 
who "wrote poetry." " Any young girl would 
have fallen in love with him " and " Poe s Mary " 
did. "Mr. Poe," Mary continues, "was about five 
feet eight inches tall, and had dark, almost black hair, 
which he wore long and brushed back in student style 
over his ears. It was as fine as silk. His eyes were 
large and full, gray and piercing. He was then, I 
think, entirely clean shaven. His nose was long and 
Straight, and his features finely cut. The expression 
about his mouth was beautiful. He was pale and had 
no color. His skin was of a clear, beautiful olive. 
He had a sad, melancholy look. He was very slender 
when I first knew him, but had a fine figure, an erect, 
military carriage, and a quick step. But it was his 
manner that most charmed. It was elegant. When 
he looked at you it seemed as if he could read your 
very thoughts. His voice was pleasant and musical, 
but not deep." Colonel T. W. Higginson, many 
years later, hearing Poe read " Ligeia," bore testi 
mony to the beauty of his voice. 

The confession of " Mary " bears internal evidence 
of being true. She describes his dress, his originality, 
his affectionate, even passionate manner in his ad 
dresses, his hauteur, aristocratic manners, and reserve. 
Excitable, jealous, intense, tender, the sensitive youth 
appears before us in these pages just as he must have 
been. Little Virginia Clemm carried the notes that 
passed to and fro between the lovers, a lovely, violet- 
VOL. i. 7 


eyed school-girl of ten who even then loved her cousin 
to distraction. He proposed marriage to Mary," 
but his penniless condition stood in the way of the 

Finally, the inevitable lovers quarrel took place, 
brought on by jealousy of a supposed rival and by 
chance indulgence with some West Point cadets in a 
glass of wine. " A glass made him tipsy. As to his 
being a habitual drunkard, he never was as long as I 
knew him " [and this lady sat beside Virginia s death 
bed in 1847]. 

All intercourse was then broken off by the inamo 
rata, who left his letters unanswered or returned 
them. Poe then wrote her satirical notelets and pub 
lished a poem "To Mary " in a Baltimore 

paper, dealing severely with her fickleness and incon 
stancy. This brought about a personal difficulty be 
tween Poe and the lady s uncle, during which Poe 
drew a cowhide and chastised the old gentleman ; 
afterwards palling the cowhide out of his sleeve, and 
throwing it passionately to the feet of his beloved, ex 
claiming : " There, I make you a present of that ! " 

The lady afterwards married another, lived in Phila 
delphia and New York, visited the Poes at Fordham 
and in Amity Street, and died in the West in 1887. 

The article is rambling and erroneous in some of its 
statements, but is evidently inspired by a real acquaint 
ance with Poe in his earlier years. A search in the 
contemporary Baltimore papers for the poem might 
throw additional light on its authenticity. 

Whether Poe went to Richmond during this dark 
period or received any help from the Allans is alto 
gether problematical. A vivid gleam of light, however, 
is thrown upon his career by the famous competition of 


the summer of 1833, when " The Baltimore Visiter " 
announced that it would give two prizes, one, of a 
hundred dollars, for the best story, another, of fifty 
dollars, for the best poem to be published in its columns 
by a given date. The committee of award was com 
posed of three distinguished Baltimore gentlemen : John 
P. Kennedy, J. H. B. Latrobe, and Dr. James H. 
Miller ; and the contest was so interesting that it is 
worth while giving an account of it in Mr. Latrobe s 
own words, many years afterwards, on the occasion of 
the unveiling of the Poe Monument in Baltimore, in 

"The Saturday Visiter" was a weekly paper 
whose origin has been entertainingly described by L. 
A. Wilmer in " Our Press Gang, or The Crimes of 
the American Newspapers : 1859." This new liter 
ary weekly had been established by Mr. C. F. Cloud 
(not by Wilmer, as asserted by Professor Woodberry), 
who placed the editorial management in Mr. Wilmer s 
charge and afterwards associated Mr. W. P. Pouder, 
his brother-in-law, and Mr. Hewitt, a musician and 
poet, with the enterprise. The weekly throve beyond 
all expectations and would, doubtless, have proved a 
decided success had not the editors fallen out, dissolved 
partnership, and lampooned each other. It then passed 
into the hands of T. S. Arthur, who subsequently 
transferred it to Dr. J. E. Snodgrass, Poe s physician- 
friend. Shortly afterwards it expired. 

Wilmer, in this curious book, bears the following 
testimony to Poe s character : 

" The late Edgar A. Poe has been represented by 
the American newspapers in general as a reckless 
libertine and a confirmed inebriate. I do not recognize 
him by this description, though I was intimately ac- 


quainted with the man, and had every opportunity to 
study his character. I have been in company with 
him every day for many months together ; and, within 
a period of twelve years, I did not see him inebriated ; 
no, not in a single instance. I do not believe that he 
was ever habitually intemperate until he was made so 
by grief and many bitter disappointments. And, with 
respect to the charge of libertinism, I have similar tes 
timony to offer. Of all men that I ever knew, he was 
the most passionless ,- and I appeal to his writings for a 
confirmation of this report. Poets of ardent tempera 
ment, such as Anacreon, Ovid, Byron, and Tom 
Moore, will always display their constitutional pecu 
liarity in their literary compositions; but Edgar A. 
Poe never wrote a line that gave expression to a libid 
inous thought. The female creations of his fancy are 
all either statues or angels. His conversation, at all 
times, was as chaste as that of a vestal, and his conduct, 
while I knew him, was correspondingly blameless. 

" Poe, during his lifetime, was feared and hated by 
many newspaper editors and other literary animalcules, 
some of whom, or their friends, had been the subject 
of his searching critiques; and others disliked him, 
naturally enough, because he was a man of superior 
intellect. While he lived, these resentful gentlemen 
were discreetly silent, but they nursed their wrath to 
keep it warm, and the first intelligence of his death was 
the signal for a general onslaught. The primal slander 
against the deceased bard was published in a leading 
journal of Philadelphia, the literary editor* of which 
had formerly received not only a critical rebuke, but 
something like personal chastisement also from the 
hands of the departed poet." 1 

1 Our Press Gang, pp. 243-5. 


In spite of the large circulation of " The Baltimore 
Visiter," not a single file of it is known to exist. The 
attention of rare-book hunters might well be called to 
the value of the unique number (October I 2) in which 
the "MS. Found in a Bottle" appeared, as well as 
to that of the other numbers to which, for six months, 
Poe is said to have contributed. 

The announcement of his winning of the prize at 
once surrounded Poe with a blaze of publicity, in 
which, afterwards, he never ceased to live. He had 
emerged out of the penumbra into the full light of 
day, a vexatious apocalypse which enabled the critics 
to turn their microscopes upon him and subject his 
every thought, attitude, and gesture to minute inves 
tigation. The vivisection has gone on for three- 
quarters of a century, while the "subject" lies in 
a haunted sleep, and mutters anathemas against the 
anatomists ! 

The "Visiter" of October 12, 1833, contained 
the following notice : 

"Amongst the prose articles [submitted for the 
prize] were many of various and distinguished merit, 
but the singular force and beauty of those sent by the 
author of The Tales of the Folio Club leave us no 
room for hesitation in that department. We have ac 
cordingly awarded the premium to a tale entitled The 
MS. Found in a Bottle. It would hardly be doing 
justice to the writer of this collection to say that the 
tale we have chosen is the best of the six offered by 
him. We cannot refrain from saying that the author 
owes it to his own reputation, as well as to the gratifi 
cation of the community, to publish the entire volume 
[ Tales of the Folio Club ]. These tales are emi 
nently distinguished by a wild, vigorous, and poetical 


imagination, a rich style, a fertile invention, and varied 

and curious learning. 

" (Signed) JOHN P. KENNEDY, 

How this tale came to be selected may be seen from 
the 1 Reminiscences of Poe by John H. B. Latrobe : 

"About the year 1833 there was a newspaper 
in Baltimore called The Saturday Visiter an 
ephemeral publication, that aimed at amusing its 
readers with light literary productions rather than the 
news of the day. One of its efforts was to procure 
original tales, and to this end it offered on this occasion 
two prizes, one for the best story and the other for the 
best short poem one hundred dollars for the first 
and fifty for the last. The judges appointed by the 
editor of the Visiter were the late John P. Ken 
nedy, Dr. James H. Miller (now deceased), and 
myself, and accordingly we met, one pleasant after 
noon, in the back parlor of my house, on Mulberry 
Street, and seated round a table garnished with some 
old wine and some good cigars, commenced our critical 
labors. As I happened then to be the youngest of 
the three, I was required to open the packages of prose 
and poetry, respectively, and read the contents. 
Alongside of me was a basket to hold what we might 

" I remember well that the first production taken 
from the top of the prose pile was in a woman s hand, 
written very distinctly, as, indeed, were all the articles 
submitted, and so neatly that it seemed a pity not to 

1 Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Volume. By Sara Sigourney 
Rice. Baltimore: Turnbull Brothers: 1877. 


award to it a prize. It was ruthlessly criticised, how 
ever, for it was ridiculously bad namby-pamby in 
the extreme full of sentiment and of the school 
known as the Laura Matilda school. The first page 
would have consigned it to the basket as our critical 
guillotine beheaded it. Gallantry, however, caused it 
to be read through, when in it went along with the 
envelope containing the name of the writer, which, of 
course, remained unknown. The next piece I have 
no recollection of, except that a dozen lines consigned 
it to the basket. I remember that the third, perhaps 
the fourth, production was recognized as a translation 
from the French, with a terrific denouement. It was 
a poor translation too ; for, falling into literal accuracy, 
the writer had, in many places, followed the French 
idioms. The story was not without merit, but the Sir 
Fretful Plagiary of a translator deserved the charge of 
Sheridan in the Critic, of being like a beggar who 
had stolen another man s child and clothed it in his 
own rags. Of the remaining productions I have no 
recollection. Some were condemned after a few sen 
tences had been read. Some were laid aside for re 
consideration not many. These last failed to pass 
muster afterwards, and the committee had about made 
up their minds that there was nothing before them to 
which they would award a prize, when I noticed a 
small quarto-bound book that had until then acciden 
tally escaped attention, possibly because so unlike, 
externally, the bundles of manuscript that it had to 
compete with. Opening it, an envelope with a motto 
corresponding with one in the book appeared, and we 
found that our prose examination was still incomplete. 
Instead of the common cursive manuscript, the writing 
was in Roman characters an imitation of printing. 


I remember that while reading the first page to myself, 
Mr. Kennedy and the Doctor had filled their glasses 
and lit their cigars, and when I said that we seemed 
at last to have a prospect of awarding the prize, they 
laughed as though they doubted it, and settled them 
selves in their comfortable chairs as I began to read. 
I had not proceeded far before my colleagues became 
as much interested as myself. The first tale finished, 
I went to the second, then to the next, and did not 
stop until I had gone through the volume, interrupted 
only by such exclamations as capital ! excel 
lent ! how odd ! * and the like, from my compan 
ions. There was genius in everything they listened 
to ; there was no uncertain grammar, no feeble phrase 
ology, no ill-placed punctuation, no worn-out truisms, 
no strong thought elaborated into weakness. Logic 
and imagination were combined in rare consistency. 
Sometimes the writer created in his mind a world of 
his own and then described it a world so weird, 
so strange 

" Far down by the dim lake of Auber, 

In the misty mid-region of Wier ; 

Far down by the dank tarn of Auber, 

In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir j * 

and withal so fascinating, so wonderfully graphic, that 
it seemed for the moment to have all the truth of a 
reality. There was an analysis of complicated facts 
an unravelling of circumstantial evidence that won the 
lawyer judges an amount of accurate scientific 
knowledge that charmed their accomplished colleague 
a pure classic diction that delighted all three. 

" When the reading was completed there was a diffi 
culty of choice. Portions of the tales were read again, 


and finally the committee selected " A MS. Found in 
a Bottle." One of the series was called " A Descent 
into the Maelstrom," and this was at one time pre 
ferred. 1 I cannot now recall the names of all the tales 

there must have been six or eight but all the 
circumstances of the selection ultimately made have 
been so often since referred to in conversation that my 
memory has been kept fresh, and I see my fellow- 
judges over their wine and cigars, in their easy-chairs 

both genial, hearty men, in pleasant mood, as dis 
tinctly now as though I were describing an event of 

" Having made the selection and awarded the one 
hundred dollar prize, not, as has been said, most un 
justly and ill-naturedly, because the manuscript was 
legible, but because of the unquestionable genius and 
great originality of the writer, we were at liberty to 
open the envelope that identified him, and there we 
found in the note, whose motto corresponded with that 
of the little volume, the name, which I see you antici 
pate, of Edgar Allan Poe. 

"The statement in Dr. Gris wold s life prefixed to 
the common edition of Poe s works, that It was unani 
mously decided by the committee that the prize should 
be given to the first genius who had written legibly ; 
not another MS. was unfolded, is absolutely untrue. 

" Refreshed by this most unexpected change in the 
character of the contributions, the committee refilled 
their glasses and relit their cigars, and the reader began 
upon the poetry. This, although better in the main 

1 This at once establishes the fact that " A Descent into the 
Maelstrom" was one of the sixteen "Tales of the Folio Club," 
and enables us to correct Professor Woodbeny s statement (Poe s 
Works, IV., p. 283) that the "sixteenth Tale is unidentified." 


than the prose, was bad enough, and, when we had 
gone more or less thoroughly over the pile of manu 
script, two pieces only were deemed worthy of consid 
eration. The title of one was The Coliseum, the 
written printing of which told that it was Poe s. The 
title of the other I have forgotten, but, upon opening 
the accompanying envelope, we found that the author 
was Mr. John H. Hewitt, still living in Baltimore, 
and well known, I believe, in the musical world, both 
as a poet and composer. I am not prepared to say 
that the committee may not have been biased in award 
ing the fifty dollar prize to Mr. Hewitt by the fact 
that they had already given the one hundred dollar 
prize to Mr. Poe. I recollect, however, that we 
agreed that, under the circumstances, the excellence of 
Mr. Hewitt s poem deserved a reward, and we gave 
the smaller prize to him with clear consciences. 

" I believe that up to this time not one of the com 
mittee had ever seen Mr. Poe, and it is my impression 
that I was the only one that ever heard of him. When 
his name was read I remembered that on one occasion 
Mr. William Gwynn, a prominent member of the bar 
of Baltimore, had shown me the very neat manuscript 
of a poem called Al Aaraaf, which he spoke of as 
indicative of a tendency to anything but the business 
of matter-of-fact life. Those of my hearers who are 
familiar with the poet s works will recollect it as one of 
his earlier productions. Although Mr. Gwynn, being 
an admirable lawyer, was noted as the author of wise 
and witty epigrams in verse, Al Aaraaf was not in 
his vein, and what he said of the writer had not pre 
pared me for the productions before the committee. 
His name. I am sure, was not at the time a familiar 


"The next number of the Saturday Visiter con 
tained the < MS. Found in a Bottle/ and announced 
the author. My office, in these days, was in the 
building still occupied by the Mechanics Bank, and I 
was seated at my desk on the Monday following the 
publication of the tale, when a gentleman entered and 
introduced himself as the writer, saying that he came 
to thank me, as one of the committee, for the award 
in his favor. Of this interview, the only one I ever 
had with Mr. Poe, my recollection is very distinct in 
deed, and it requires but a small effort of imagination 
to place him before me now, as plainly almost as I see 
any one of my audience. He was, if anything, below 
the middle size, and yet could not be described as a 
small man. His figure was remarkably good, and he 
carried himself erect and well, as one who had been 
trained to it. He was dressed in black, and his frock- 
coat was buttoned to the throat, where it met the 
black stock, then almost universally worn. Not a par 
ticle of white was visible. Coat, hat, boots, and 
gloves had very evidently seen their best days, but so 
far as mending and brushing go, everything had been 
done, apparently, to make them presentable. On most 
men his clothes would have looked shabby and seedy, 
but there was something about this man that prevented 
one from criticising his garments, and the details I 
have mentioned were only recalled afterwards. The 
impression made, however, was that the award in 
Mr. Poe s favor was not inopportune. Gentleman was 
written all over him. His manner was easy and quiet, 
and although he came to return thanks for what he 
regarded as deserving them, there was nothing obse 
quious in what he said or did. His features I am 
unable to describe in detail. His forehead was high, 


and remarkable for the great development at the 
temple. This was the characteristic of his head, 
which you noticed at once, and which I have never 
forgotten. The expression of his face was grave, 
almost sad, except when he was engaged in conversa 
tion, when it became animated and changeable. His 
voice, I remember, was very pleasing in its tone and 
well modulated, almost rhythmical, and his words 
were well chosen and unhesitating. Taking a seat, 
we conversed a while on ordinary topics, and he in 
formed me that Mr. Kennedy, my colleague in the 
committee, on whom he had already called, had either 
given, or promised to give him, a letter to the South 
ern Literary Messenger, which he hoped would pro 
cure him employment. 1 I asked him whether he was 
then occupied with any literary labor. He replied 
that he was engaged on a voyage to the moon, and at 
once went into a somewhat learned disquisition upon 
the laws of gravity, the height of the earth s atmos 
phere, and the capacities of balloons, warming in his 
speech as he proceeded. Presently, speaking in the 
first person, he began the voyage : after describing the 
preliminary arrangements, as you will find them set 
forth in one of his tales, called The Adventure of 
One Hans Pfaall, and leaving the earth, and becoming 
more and more animated, he described his sensation, 
as he ascended higher and higher, until, at last, he 
reached the point in space where the moon s attraction 
overcame that of the earth, when there was a sudden 
bouleversement of the car and a great confusion among 
its tenants. By this time the speaker had become so 

1 There is some confusion of dates here : the Messenger was 
not established until August, 1834, nearly ten months after this 
interview. ED. 


excited, spoke so rapidly, gesticulating much, that 
when the turn up-side-down took place, and he 
clapped his hands and stamped with his foot by way 
of emphasis, I was carried along with him, and, for 
aught to the contrary that I now remember, may have 
fancied myself the companion of his aerial journey. 
The climax of the tale was the reversal I have men 
tioned. When he had finished his description he 
apologized for his excitability, which he laughed at 
himself. The conversation then turned upon other 
subjects, and soon afterward he took his leave. I 
never saw him more. Dr. Griswold s statement 
that Mr. Kennedy accompanied him (Poe) to a 
clothing store and purchased for him a respectable suit, 
with a change of linen, and sent him to a bath, is a 
sheer fabrication. 

" That I heard of him again and again, and year 
after year, in common with all English-speaking people, 
more and more, it is unnecessary to say heard of 
him in terms of praise sometimes, sometimes in terms 
of censure, as we all have done, until now, that he has 
passed away, leaving his fame behind him, to last while 
our language lasts, I have grown to think of him only 
as the author who gave to the world the Raven 
and the Bells, and many a gem beside of noble 
verse ; who illustrated that power of the English 
tongue in prose composition not less logical than im 
aginative ; and I forget the abuse, whether with or 
without foundation, that ignorance, prejudice, or 
envy has heaped upon his memory. Unfortunately in 
the first biography following his death, where the 
author, with a temper difficult to understand, actually 
seemed to enjoy the depreciation of the poet s life, 
Edgar Allan Poe was seen by a malignant eye, and 


his story was told by an unkindly tongue ; and the 
efforts since made by friends to do him justice are 
slowly succeeding in demonstrating that there was in 
him an amount of good which, in all fairness, should 
be set off against that which we must regret while we 
attempt to palliate. 

" To Poe, there well may be applied the verse of one 
of the most gifted of oar poetesses, addressed to a great 
name in a very different sphere : 

" * The moss upon thy memory, no I 

Not while one note is sung 
Of those divine, immortal lays 

Milton and Shakspeare sung 5 
Not till the gloom of night enshroud 

The Anglo-Saxon tongue. " 

Poe of course became the talk of the town. Mr. 
Kennedy (author of "Swallow Barn," recently pub 
lished, and, later, of " Horse-Shoe Robinson," and 
other works) immediately interested himself in the 
forlorn young genius, invited him to dinner, gave him 
clothing and free access to his house and table, and 
"brought him up," as he records in his diary, "from 
the very verge of despair." 

In a letter often quoted, but which never loses its 
intense pathos, Poe wrote to Kennedy at this time : 

" Your invitation to dinner has wounded me to the 
quick. I cannot come for reasons of the most humili 
ating nature my personal appearance. You may 
imagine my mortification in making this disclosure to 
you, but it is necessary." 

The other judges also, Messrs. Latrobe and Miller, 
were kind to him, and he sustained himself precari- 


ously by "jobs " for the " Visiter," and for Mr. Ken 
nedy. Wilmer was his frequent companion in walks 
and talks about the suburbs, and testifies, as we have 
noted, to his good conduct. He was living with his 
aunt Mrs. Clemm, who had married a widower, 
William Clemm, with a son and a daughter. The 
lady is said to have supported herself by teaching and 
dressmaking, and to have resided first in Wilkes Street 
and then at No. 3 Amity Street, Baltimore. There 
is no reason to doubt Poe s statement that the " MS. 
Found in a Bottle" was written and " Politian " al 
ready begun, in 1831. 

We now approach one of the most vexed and ob 
scure controversies of Poe s vexed existence his 
rupture with the Allans. We are fortunately enabled 
for the first time to give an authentic statement of the 
events from a member of the Allan family, giving the 
Allan version of the affair. 

Mr. Allan died of dropsy March 27, 1834. Three 
children had been born to him by the second marriage, 
and the birth of these children had of course been a 
death-blow to Poe s hopes of becoming Mr. Allan s 
heir. Still some lingering expectation of one kind or 
another must have haunted the poet s brain, for while 
Mr. Allan was ill he appeared in Richmond and went 
to the house, having been there previously only once 
in four years. In justice to Mrs. Allan, who was a 
most estimable woman, and who apparently had never 
seen Poe but once, we print perhaps indiscreetly 
the following letter from her niece as giving her side of 
the unfortunate occurrence, premising that in certain 
.Virginia circles the view prevails to this day that Poe 
was utterly bad, that on his return from the University 
he gambled with Mr. Allan s servants, and that when 


he demanded money of one of the Allan ladies, he 
stoned the house and smashed the windows on being 
refused ; adding, however, that the same accusation of 
forgery was brought against Poe, later, in Philadelphia, 
was tried in a court of justice, and triumphantly refuted, 
heavy damages being awarded the poet : 

" I am afraid I can give you very little assistance 
about Edgar Allan Poe, for he has been so often 
written up, and there are none of his contemporaries 
now living that I know of, and all that I could write 
you would be family tradition, and that, you know, is 
not always authentic. Mr. John Allan had no chil 
dren during his first marriage, and after he adopted 
Poe he became as devoted to him and as proud of his 
talents as if he were his own son, sparing no expense 
on his education, dress, and living. Poe, expecting 
to be his heir, began at the University a wild and 
reckless career, and was guilty of conduct so unbecom 
ing a gentleman that it offended Mr. Allan seriously. 
That, however, did not break the ties that had so 
long existed, and Mr. Allan tried in every way to 
reform him. Poe, however, continued the same dis 
solute life, breaking good resolutions and promises often 
and over, and ended by forging Mr. Allan s name. 
The money was paid, but then it was that Poe was 
discarded and forbidden the house of his benefactor, 
and all intercourse was refused. Mr. Allan married, 
secondly, my aunt, Miss Patterson of New Jersey, 
and she told me that Poe had never been to their house 
but twice, and she only saw him once. It was when 
her eldest son was three weeks old. He came up 
stairs to her bedroom, and began in an abusive manner 
to rail at herself and baby. She asked her nurse to 
ring the bell. It was answered by the butler, and 


she said : James, put this drunken man out of the 
house, which he did. The next time he visited the 
house must have been about four years afterwards, for 
it was during the last illness of Mr. Allan. He was 
sitting in a large chair trying to read a newspaper 
when the door opened, and Poe came in. Mr. Allan 
became very much excited, shook his cane at him, and 
ordered him out of the house, using very strong lan 
guage, for he had never forgiven him, and whether he 
came to plead for forgiveness, or to upbraid, no one 
knew, for the old gentleman did not give him a chance 
to say a word. My aunt always felt it bitterly that 
the public so often blamed her for the estrangement 
when she had nothing to do with it, and rarely spoke 
of him. Of course these things happened long before 
my day." 

The palliation for such conduct could only be the 
unfortunate manner in which the orphan waif had been 
reared. Bitter indeed must have been the anguish and 
despair of such a spirit as Poe s on finding himself thus 
publicly cut off without even a mention in the will, 
the laughing-stock of the town where he had lived 
nearly all his life. In a moment of supreme agitation 
he was doubtless misled to commit acts which in cold 
blood would have been atrocious, and this must be his 

Thrown upon his own resources, Poe despairingly 
turned to a Philadelphia publishing house (Carey & 
Lea), and sent them the "Tales of the Folio Club," 
following his friend Kennedy s advice ; and, consult 
ing with Wilmer, he and the young editor of the 
" Visiter " determined to issue the prospectus of a 
first-class literary journal, of the usual " fearless, inde 
pendent, and sternly just " kind, an ideal about which 
VOL. i. 8 


Poe at least was really in earnest, and which he 
cherished up to his dying breath. 

Virginia Clemm, meanwhile, the poet s cousin, 
had developed into a beautiful girl of twelve or 
thirteen, whose charms, intelligence, and refinement 
had captivated the heart of Edgar, thirteen years older. 
A proposition of marriage followed, which was strenu 
ously opposed by Neilson Poe, a third cousin, who 
had married Virginia s step-sister, and who offered to 
care for Virginia until she was of a suitable age to 
marry. This Poe vigorously opposed, and, with Mrs. 
Clemm s consent, they were licensed to marry, accord 
ing to the Marriage Records of the City of Baltimore, 
September 22, 1834. The records of St. Paul s 
Church Parish, Baltimore, show that Virginia Clemm 
was born August 22, 1822. 

Whether the marriage was actually performed by a 
minister, after the license was obtained, cannot be pos 
itively ascertained. An unfounded tradition affirms 
that Rev. John Johns (afterwards Bishop of Virginia) 
performed the ceremony ; but the writer has taken 
the trouble to make careful inquiries of the Johns 
family, as well as of the registrar of St. Paul s Church, 
with the following result : 

Bishop Johns s son writes : 

WASHINGTON, D. C., Nov. 2, 1900. 

MY DEAR SIR, Replying to your favor of Nov. 
ist, let me say that the records of marriages performed by 
Rev. Dr. Johns, in Balto., are, I presume, to be found 
at Christ Church, Balto., Rev. Dr. Niver, rector. . . . 
We have no traditions or other information. 
Very truly, 



arc held and 6rraly bound unto /ryfy tt***rf7eK *itS>v*. &2^^e^ f ^^- Governor of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia, in the just and full sum of ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS, to the 

S2&& i i$s 

payment w bereol, well and truly to be maae 10 the said Governor, or his successors, for the use of 
the said Commonwealth, we bind ourselves and each of us, our and each of our heirs, executors 
and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents Sealed with oar seals, end 
dated this /(f> day of ???6Cst-rs 183<^ 

marriage is shortly intended to be had and so/emnlzed between the above bound 


of the City of Richmond. Now if there is no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage, theo toe 
abovo obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue. 


This day S<r?77a~? r?&?i & -- above flamed, made ODtfi 


bclore me, as ^-^Sx Clerk of the Court of Hustings for the said City, thai 

Z^-^px^tx.c^- 5 &j&b**vm Is of the full age of. twenty-one years, and * 
resident of the said City. Given under my hand, this y& day of s?J 


CHRIST CHURCH, Nov. 9th, 1900. 

DEAR SIR, There is no record of Poe s marriage 
in the books of Christ s Church in the years 1834, 5, or 6. 

I would suggest that you write to Dr. Hodges at St. 
Paul s Church. They may have it recorded there, as 
Christ s Church is a daughter of St. Paul s Church. 

ROBERT B. NELSON, Assistant. 

BALTIMORE, Nov. 15, 1900. 

MY DEAR SIR, Your letter of the i2th inst. to 
Rev. Dr. Hodges, rector of St. Paul s Parish, has been 
handed to me, as Registrar of the Parish, for reply in 
reference to the marriage of Edgar Allan Poe and Vir 
ginia Clemm. 

In reply I would say that as long ago as Sept., 1884, 
I made a careful examination of the Records of St. Paul s 
Parish for Mr. Geo. E. Woodberry, who was about to 
publish a life of E. A. Poe, and then told him that no 
record of Poe s marriage appeared in our books, though 
there were several records of the Clemm family. I forget 
now the year of the marriage, but think it was prior to 
1828 [an error : 1834 was the year. ED.], for in that 
year Christ Church was set off from St. Paul s Parish, 
and any marriage after that time should appear in Christ 
Church Records, and not in ours. . . . 
Yours truly, 


There is no complete legal proof that the marriage 
took place, because there is no return of the minister 
officiating. This is doubtless the reason why, some 
months later, May 16, 1836, as seen in the marriage 
bond, a second license was secured, and the ceremony 
was performed in Richmond, Va., by the Rev. Amasa 
Converse, a Presbyterian minister who edited fe The 
Southern Religious Telegraph." 


The cause of the removal to Richmond at this time 
was the establishment of the famous " Southern Liter 
ary Messenger," and Poe s engagement, first as a 
casual contributor to the magazine, and then as its 
literary editor. 

This engagement had been brought about by the 
kind offices of his good friend Kennedy, to whom T. 
W. White, editor and proprietor of the " Messenger," 
had written for a contribution, and who recommended 
Poe as a very remarkable young man. 

Poe sent White some of his " Tales of the Folio 
Club," one of which "Berenice" (not, how 
ever, one of those named below) appeared in the 
number for March, 1835, attracting wide attention. 
The stories known to have been among " The Tales 
of the Folio Club" were the "MS. Found in a 
Bottle," " Lionizing," " The Visionary (" Assigna 
tion")," "Siope," "Epimanes," and "A Descent 
into the Maelstrom " (the latter on the authority of 
Mr. J. H. B. Latrobe, in Miss Rice s Baltimore Me 
morial Volume, p. 59). Poe seems to have had ten 
other " Tales of the Folio Club " ready, which he 
did not use in the competition : t( Berenice" (above 
mentioned), " Morella," " Hans Phaall " (so spelled 
in the "Messenger" for June, 1835, though re 
peatedly, in his correspondence, with one / only), 
"Bon-Bon," "Shadow," "Loss of Breath," "King 
Pest," " Metzengerstein," "Due de 1 Omelette," 
and "A Tale of Jerusalem." 

These tales must have been those described by 
Mr. J. P. Kennedy in his note to Poe s letter of No 
vember, 1834, as tnen m tne hands of Carey & Lea, 
of Philadelphia, for consideration : " being two series 
submitted for the prize, for which one was chosen, 


and two others at my suggestion sent to Carey & 

One of these tales was sold to Miss Leslie, for the 
" Souvenir," at $i 5. Letters dated December, 1834, 
and March, May, June, and July, 1835, show the 
author in lively correspondence with Kennedy and 
White on matters largely pertaining to his new con 
nection with the " Messenger" as critical reviewer. 
In one of these letters to White he writes : " I must 
insist on your not sending me any remuneration for ser 
vices of this nature [aiding the circulation of the 
" Messenger " by notices in the Baltimore " Repub 
lican," "American," etc.]. They are a pleasure to 
me, and no trouble whatever." 

Occasional sums from White of $5 or $20 reached 
Poe through the mails, and were welcome additions to 
his purse. Number 10 of the "Messenger" con 
tained thirty-four columns by the new contributor, 
including " Hans Pfaall " (which, he asserts, "was 
written especially for the Messenger "). 

In September, 1835, his correspondence shows that 
he was already in Richmond, probably at Mrs. Yar- 
rington s boarding-house, and, a little later, was receiving 
a salary of $520 a year as editor of the " Messenger," 
increased to $800 by Mr. White s liberality for extra 
work. This was to be still further increased to $ 1,000 
the next year. He writes exultantly that "his friends 
had received him with open arms," asks Kennedy s 
advice as to his course in the " Messenger," and finds 
that his reputation is increasing in the South. 

Already, however, a note of warning sounds from 
White in September, 1835. "No man is safe that 
drinks before breakfast. No man can do so and attend 
to business properly." Poe was beginning to complain 


of "ill-health," and had contracted this unfortunate 
habit of morning potations, either from the delicacy of 
his constitution or from the hereditary " blue devils " 
from which he suffered. Just after his arrival in 
Richmond, indeed, when everything seemed bright, 
and he had been employed by White at something 
more than $4.0 a month, he fell into low spirits, and 
wrote Kennedy a despairing letter in which he says : 
"I am suffering under a depression of spirits, such as 
I have never felt before. I have struggled in vain 
against the influence of this melancholy ; you will 
believe me, when I say that I am still miserable, in 
spite of the great improvement in my circumstances. 
... I am wretched, and know not why. Con 
sole me, for you can. But let it be quickly, or it 
will be too late. . . . Persuade me to do what is right. 
. . . Urge me to do what is right. . . . Fail not, as 
you value your peace of mind hereafter." 

Kennedy replied in consoling words and lulled the 
rasped spirit of the poet as well as he could, fearing 
that the constitutional hypochondria might drive him 
to desperation. In later life Poe affirmed that to Ken 
nedy he owed life itself, possibly referring to the ad 
mirable conduct of the Baltimore novelist in lending 
him money at critical periods of his existence and 
giving him the sound advice which he so much needed. 

The bibliography of Poe s writings will show the 
variety and multiplicity of his work during the eighteen 
months he resided in Richmond, two whole volumes 
alone of the present edition being devoted to the uncol- 
lected reviews and essays in the "Messenger." He 
showed himself a most industrious and indefatigable 
editor, author, and critic, pouring forth a tide of re 
views, critiques, poems (revised or original), stories, 


satires, and romances such as hardly any two men 
could have been expected to supply. These are 
treated more fully in the following chapter and show 
the epoch-making character of Poe s work as an imagi 
native writer and scientific critic. 

In the early stage of the Richmond period, after the 
marriage, the Poes seem to have kept house and taken 
boarders, borrowing money from Kennedy and the 
Poe family to establish themselves. The evil habit of 
borrowing began to grow on Poe in spite of the abun 
dant support his "Messenger" connection gave him. 
One is loath, however, to believe that there was any 
sharp practice connected with it. That Poe abun 
dantly understood the humorous side and the practices 
of the "dead beat" is plain from his "Diddling 
Considered as One of the Exact Sciences." 





THE last leaf of the t( Southern Literary Messen 
ger " for January, 1837, contained the following 
announcement : 

To the Patrons of the Southern Literary Messenger : 

" In issuing the present number of the Messen 
ger* (the first of a new volume) I deem it proper to 
inform my subscribers, and the public generally, that 
Mr. Poe, who has filled the editorial department for 
the last twelve months with so much ability, retired 
from that station on the 3d inst., and the entire man 
agement of the work again devolves on myself alone. 
Mr. P., however, will continue to furnish its columns, 
from time to time, with the effusions of his vigorous 
and popular pen, and my old contributors, among 
whom I am proud to number some of the best writers 
in our state and country, will doubtless continue to 
favor me with their valuable contributions. . . . 

" It is perhaps due to Mr. Poe to state, that he is 
not responsible for any of the articles which appear in 
the present number, except the reviews of Bryant s 
Poems, George Balcombe, Irving s Astoria, Rey 
nolds s Address on the South Sea Expedition, An- 
thon s Cicero, the first number of Arthur Gordon 
Pym, a sea story, and two poetical effusions to which 


his name is prefixed. . . . RICHMOND, January 
26, 1837. 

In an earlier number, for December, 1835, the 
publisher had said : 

"Among these [contributors], we hope to be par 
doned for singling out the name of Mr. EDGAR A. POE ; 
not with design to make any invidious distinction, but 
because such a mention of him finds numberless prece 
dents in the journals on every side, which have rung 
the praises of his uniquely original vein of imagination, 
and of humorous, delicate satire." 

Page 72 of the "Southern Literary Messenger" 
for January, 1837, contained a foot-note printed in 
small type attached to the review of " Anthon s Cic 
ero," to the following effect : 

" Mr. Poe s attention being called in another direc 
tion, he will decline, with the present number, the 
Editorial duties on the Messenger. His Critical 
Notices for this month end with Professor Anthon s 
Cicero what follows is from another hand. With 
the best wishes to the Magazine, and to its few foes as 
well as many friends, he is now desirous of bidding all 
parties a peaceable farewell." 

Whatever may have been the cause of the " peace 
able farewell," the rupture between Poe and White, 
it is absolutely incredible that it could have been the 
"idleness" or irregularity" of the former, for in 
this final number for January, 1837, fully one-third of 
the ninety-six pages is occupied by the eight contribu 
tions of the poet-critic, nor is it correct to say (Wood- 
berry, 103) that "Poe furnished no more installments 
of his serial narrative, Arthur Gordon Pym, which 
had just been begun in The Messenger. 

The very next number of the "Messenger," for 


February, 1837, contains over fifteen columns more of 
the serial narrative! Quis credat ? 

The previous two years of the "Messenger" had 
been crowded enriched beyond compare with a 
prodigious variety of work from Foe s ever-fertile, ever- 
flying pen. If he ventured to republish occasionally 
what had appeared in his first three timid, scarce, and 
unknown volumes of 1827, 1829, and 1831, he sel 
dom reproduced an old poem without embellishing it 
and reducing it to a shape and form that have re 
mained incomparable. The literary perfection which 
he demanded from his contemporaries was no less 
sternly exacted from his own writings : with the 
result that he has yet to be convicted of a tech 
nical error in his finished works. The 1827 volume 
of Foe was suppressed immediately after its pub 
lication by C. F. S. Thomas of Boston, and is now 
so rare that the McKee copy sold in New York, 
November, 1900, for $2,050. The 1829 " Al 
Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems" became 
almost as great a rarity, and the West Point "Poems " 
of 1831 in which the forty pages of 1827 had 
grown to one hundred and twenty-four are like 
wise a bibliographical rarity, doubtless even more 
so then than now when an occasional copy can be 
picked up at a fabulous price. 

To the "Messenger" for 183435 (beginning 
August, 1834, an d extending to September, 1835) 
Poe contributed nine articles; in the "Messenger" 
for 1835-36 (from December to the following No 
vember) Poe had no less than eighteen contributions ; 
and in the volume for 1837, nine contributions, many 
of them of great length, appear by him : an almost in 
credible array of work for a young man of "idle," 


"drunken," and "irregular" habits, encumbered 
with a delicate wife and mother-in-law ! 

Of the fourteen long prose pieces contributed during 
these three years, seven are Poe classics: "A MS. 
Found in a Bottle"; " Berenice "; Morella " ; 
"Hans Pfaall " ; "The Visionary (Assignation) "; 
"Shadow"; " Metzengerstein " ; seven are the re 
markable "A Tale of Jerusalem," " Lionizing," 
" Bon-Bon," " Loss of Breath," " King Pest," 
"Due de F Omelette," and "Four Beasts in One 
(Epimanes) ". 

Besides this striking abundance of prose master 
pieces, some of which have placed themselves among 
the rarest prose-poems in the language, there were 
numerous metrical poems in their early stages " The 
Coliseum," " Irene," " Politian," " Israfel," 
"Paean," "To Helen," "To Science," "The 
Valley of Nis," and others: enough to make in all 
an average of four each month during the period of 
Poe s incumbency as editor. 

There is no doubt, however, that Poe was ad 
dicted to drugs and stimulants at irregular intervals 
and under strong temptations. That he was either an 
habitual drunkard or an habitual opium-eater is con 
tradicted both by the unanimous testimony of his 
intimate friends those who really knew him and 
by the piles of exquisitely-written manuscript, manu 
script written at all hours of the day and night, under 
all circumstances of good and bad health, hurriedly or 
deliberately, that have remained behind to attest a 
physical condition absolutely the opposite of that of a 
victim of delirium tremens^ No opium sot, no 

1 The author (who had formed this view independently) was glad 
to see it confirmed by Mr. Appleton Morgan, The Personality of 


habitual victim of spirituous liquors, could have written 
this firm, clear, steady, delightfully legible feminine 
hand- writing. Poe s case has never been scientifically 
diagnosed by a competent neurologist who possessed 
the combined pathological and literary equipment and 
freedom from prejudice necessary to render his case 
more singular than "The Case of M. Valdemar " 
intelligible to the reading world. Poe himself comes 
nearest to it in his ghastly tale of "Hop- Frog," in 
which he describes autobiographically, one cannot 
but think the frightful effects of a single glass of wine 
on the deformed cripple. His brain was always at 
fever-heat, a volcano raging with inward fires and full 
of the molten lava of nervous irritability : to add a 
single drop of external stimulant to it was to cause it to 
overflow, and destroy or ravage everything within reach. 
There are temperaments that come into the world in 
toxicated, like the " God-intoxicated Spinoza" so 
brimming with spiritual fire that there is no room for 
anything more. Such temperaments are perilously 
allied to hysteria and madness, but one needs only to 
glance over the literary annals of the globe to pick 
out the Sapphos, the Lucans, the Tassos, the Pascals, 
the Burnses, the Holderlins, the Collinses. That Poe 
maintained his absolute sanity to the last, and increased 
the lofty reasonableness and perfection of his style up to 
the very gates of Death, is an historical fact illuminative 
alike to the literary historian and the pathologist. 

Poe s position, first as contributor to the "Messen 
ger," then as its editor, had never been a bed of roses. 
Almost at the outset a confidential correspondent of 

Poe" {Munsey s Magazine, July, 1897), and by the experts in 
handwriting to whom he submitted Poe s MSS. 


Mr. T. W. White (its proprietor) wrote to him as 
follows : 

"June 22, 1835. James M. Garnett, Essex, to 
Mr. Thomas W. White, Editor South. Lit. Mess. 
With respect to Mr. Poe, if I am to judge by his last 
communication, I should determine that he will rather 
injure than benefit your Paper. His sole object in this 
seems to be, to inform your Readers how many Authors 
he knows, at least by name. That he may be 
a scholar of the very highest grade I will not 
question ; but it is not always the best scholars that 
write best, or have the best taste and judgment. Read 
his piece over again, and I think you will agree with 
me that it has neither wit nor humor; or that if it has 
any, it lies too deep for common understanding to follow 
it." (MS. letter in the Virginia Historical Society s 
Library, Richmond, Va.) 

Envy and jealousy followed the gifted and unfor 
tunate man wherever he went, and Richmond was no 
exception. That he did splendid and epoch-making 
work for White was shown in the enormous increase 
(from 700 -to 5,000) in circulation of the magazine 
and the great attention that was paid to its literary and 
critical judgments all over the North and South. 

Mr. White himself was an excellent man and busi 
ness manager who had the sense to see the value of 
Poe to his journal and to retain these invaluable services 
as long as he could. 

Of Mr. White himself Dr. B. B. Minor (one of the 
editors of the "Messenger") writes the author under 
date of November 16, 1900 : 

" Mr. Thomas W. White, founder and proprietor 
of the Southern Literary Messenger, was not a man 
of education or self-culture; but a practical printer. 


He was small and of unprepossessing presence ; yet 
pleasant, kind-hearted, and conciliatory : so that he 
could enlist others in what he proposed to them. In 
establishing the Messenger, he probably had an ad 
vantage that he would not have had as a literary man. 
He had a printing office and needed only patronage 
enough to pay him for a good monthly job. In ap 
pealing to the pride and patriotism of our people, which 
he did sincerely, he could evoke the assistance and co 
operation of literary men. Thus he obtained for a 
whole year, gratuitously, the faithful and efficient edi 
torial services of Mr. James E. Heath, grandfather of 
Professor Richard Heath Dabney. Mr. Heath had 
a good salary as 2nd Auditor of the State of Virginia 
and could and did afford to help Mr. White s ap 
proved enterprise. 

" Mr. Heath was recognized as a literary man and 
had published a Virginian novel entitled (I think) 
Edge Hill. I would like to read it again. Mr. 
White could write a very good and coaxing letter and 
drew other influential men to the support of his praise 
worthy adventure. At first he announced himself as 
printer and proprietor of the Messenger. 

"In Vol. II. he announced himself proprietor, 
but said that the intellectual department was under 
the conduct of the proprietor, assisted by a gentleman 
of distinguished literary talents. He also said : The 
gentleman referred to in the gth Number of the Mes 
senger as filling its Editorial chair, retired thence 
with the nth Number. 

"In Vol. I., No. 9, p. 481, most cordial thanks 
are given to the gentleman (Mr. Heath) who had up 
to that time rendered gratuitously such valuable 
services to the Messenger, and it was stated that an 


Editor of acknowledged capacity had been engaged, 
who would devote his whole attention to the work. 
This was the person who so soon retired, with the 
i ith Number. I do not know who this was. I be 
lieve that Lucian Minor was of great assistance to Mr. 
White, after both Mr. Heath and Mr. Poe. Mr. 
White thought all the world of Mr. Lucian Minor 
and the Messenger once gave him the highest sort 
of notice. I think it was in connection with Mr. 
Minor s Eulogy on Professor John A. G. Davis and 
his fine picture of a Model Lawyer. 

e< As early as Vol. III., Mr. White announced 
himself as Editor and Proprietor, and continued to 
do so. He died January 19, 1843, in the fifty-fifth 
year of his age. He was a native of Virginia, but 
was engaged for some time as a printer in Boston, 
which may have been a benefit to him in his subse 
quent work in Richmond. It was once stated some 
where that he was a Northern man, but he had this 
corrected in the Messenger, which declared that he 
was a Tuckahoe. 

" Mr. White s Editors were James E. Heath, 
Lucian Minor, Edgar A. Poe ; Judge Henry St. 
George Tucker, for a short time, upon the testimony 
of Colonel Thomas H. Ellis ; and Lieutenant Mathew 
F. Maury, U. S. N. I must have become acquainted 
with him soon after I settled in Richmond, in 1841. 
Mr. John W. Fergusson has reminded me that he took 
to my law office proof-sheets which Mr. White sent 
and asked me to correct for the Messenger. My 
first contribution was published in January, 1842, 
and must have been written some time before. It was 
in behalf of my Alma Mater, the University of Vir 
ginia, and was edited by Lieutenant Maury, as his 
writing on the MS. plainly shows. I still have it." 


Mr. White s daughter, Eliza, to whom Poe ad 
dressed the stanzas "To Eliza, was said to be a 
beautiful girl who visited the Clemms and Poes after 
they removed to Philadelphia, and afterwards became 
a well-known Shaksperian reader, dying unmarried in 
1888, seventy-six years of age. 

After the severance of his connection with the 
" Messenger," in January, 1837, Poe is found some 
months after in New York, at a Carmine Street house 
numbered with the unfortunate figure 113^. It 
will be remembered that he occupied the dormitory 
No. i 3 West Range, while he was at the University, 
a fact in which the superstitious seers of signs and 
wonders may revel. 

The house was a wretched wooden shanty, abun 
dantly large for the little party of three and a few 
boarders whom the indefatigable Mrs. Clemm decided 
to take as a help in the household expenses. 

Invaluable testimony as to Poe s sobriety at this 
time is rendered by one of these boarders, a Mr. 
William Gowans, " the wealthy and eccentric bibli- 
opolist," who lived eight months with the Pbes in the 
Carmine Street house. 1 Mr. Gowans joins N. P. 
Willis, Frances Sargent Osgood, George R. Graham, 
and many others with whom Poe was intimately asso 
ciated in social life and in literary office work, in the 
assertion that he was never otherwise seen than as the 
courteous and perfect gentleman whose manners, to 
women especially, were almost reverential, and to his 
employers habitually respectful and considerate. 

In his letter Mr. Gowans says : 

" For eight months or more one house contained 
us, as one table fed. During that time I saw much 

1 New York Evening Mail, December, 1870 ; Ingram, I., 143. 


of him, and had an opportunity of conversing with 
him often, and I must say, that I never saw him the 
least affected with liquor, nor even descend to any 
known vice, while he was one of the most courteous, 
gentlemanly, and intelligent companions I have met 
with during my journeyings and haltings through divers 
divisions of the globe ; besides, he had an extra induce 
ment to be a good man as well as a good husband, for 
he had a wife of matchless beauty and loveliness ; her 
eye could match that of any houri, and her face 
defy the genius of a Canova to imitate ; a temper and 
disposition of surpassing sweetness ; besides, she 
seemed as much devoted to him and his every interest 
as a young mother is to her first-born. . . . Poe 
had a remarkably pleasing and prepossessing counte 
nance, what the ladies would call decidedly hand 


Poe himself had carefully trained the beautiful young 
Baltimore girl, and under his loving and patient tuition 
reversing the position of Morella and Ligeia, whose 
" profound erudition" instructed their husbands she 
became an expert linguist. Her mother speaks of her 
rare musical powers and beautiful voice : 

" Of all the women I have ever known, she, the 
outwardly calm, the ever-placid Ligeia [that mingled 
reminiscence of wife and mother] was the most 
violently a prey to the tumultuous vultures of stern 
passion. And of such passions 1 could form no esti 
mate, save by the miraculous expression of those eyes 
which at once so delighted and appalled me by the 
almost magical melody, modulation, distinctness, and 
placidity of her very low voice." 

"Eddie," declares Mrs. Clemm, " was domestic 
in all his habits, seldom leaving home for an hour un- 
VOL. i. Q 


less his darling Virginia, or myself, were with him. He 
was truly an affectionate, kind husband, and a devoted 
son to me. He was impulsive, generous, affectionate, 
and noble. His tastes were very simple, and his ad 
miration for all that was good and beautiful very great. 
. . . We three lived only for each other." J 

And here again arises the exquisite form of Eleonora 
the loveliest of all Poe s fable-autobiographies: 

" She whom I loved in youth, and of whom I now 
pen calmly and distinctly these reminiscences, was the 
sole daughter of the only sister of my mother long de 
parted. Eleonora was the name of my cousin. We 
had always dwelled together beneath a tropical sun, 
in the Valley of the. Many-Colored Grass. No un- 
guided footstep ever came upon the vale ; for it lay far 
away up among a range of giant hills that hung bee 
tling around about it, shutting out the sunlight from its 
sweetest recesses. No path was trodden in its vicinity ; 
and, to reach our happy home, there was need of put 
ting back, with force, the foliage of many thousands of 
forest trees, and of crushing to death the glories of 
many millions of fragrant flowers. 

" Thus it was that we lived all alone, knowing noth 
ing of the world without the valley, I, and my 
cousin, and her mother." 

With this we may combine two other autobio 
graphic touches for Poe may best be interpreted by 
himself one from " Berenice," the other, the remark 
able opening lines of " Eleonora " : 

"I am come of a race noted for vigor of fancy and 
ardor of passion. Men have called me mad ; but the 
question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not 
the loftiest intelligence : whether much that is glorious, 

1 Ingram, I , 146. 


whether all that is profound, does not spring from 
disease of thought, from moods of mind exalted at 
the expense of the general intellect. They who dream 
by day are cognizant of many things which escape 
those who dream only by night. In their gray visions 
they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in awaking, 
to find that they have been on the verge of the great 
secret. In snatches, they learn something of the wis 
dom which is of good, and more of the mere knowl 
edge which is of evil. They penetrate, however 
rudderless or compassless, into the vast ocean of the 
* light ineffable ; and again, like the adventures of 
the Nubian geographer, agressi sunt mare tenebrarum, 
quid in eo esset exploraturiS 

"We will say, then, that I am mad. {Eleo- 
nora. ) 

" To muse for long unwearied hours, with my at 
tention riveted to some frivolous device on the margin 
or in the typography of a book ; to become absorbed, 
for the better part of a summer s day, in a quaint 
shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry or upon the floor ; 
lose myself, for an entire night, in watching the steady 
flame of a lamp or the embers of a fire ; to dream away 
whole days over the perfume of a flower ; to repeat, 
, monotonously, some common word, until the sound, 
by dint of frequent repetition, ceased to convey any 
idea whatever to the mind ; to lose all sense of motion 
or physical existence, by means of absolute bodily 
quiescence long and obstinately persevered in : such 
were a few of the most common and least pernicious 
vagaries induced by a condition of the mental faculties, 
not, indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainly bid 
ding defiance to anything like analysis or explanation." 


Here is Poe drawing his own silhouette out of the 
cloudland of memory and self-analysis : the dreamer, 
the poet, the madman, the monomaniac, if you will, 
passionately addicted to revery, as passionately as the 
Hindoo who fixes his lifelong glance on the mystic 
lotus, the ineffable flower, that lifts its chalice above 
the slime of Life ; the ardent lover, the remnant of an 
ancient race feverishly enamored of the Beautiful, the 
solitary deluged with poetic visions, whose eye for the 
Unknown is almost celestially clear, while every step 
in the Actual is a stumble. 

" Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up 
together in my paternal halls. Yet differently we 
grew I, ill of health, and buried in gloom she, 
agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy ; hers, the 
ramble on the hill-side mine, the studies of the 
cloister ; I, living within my own heart, and addicted, 
body and soul, to the most intense and painful medita 
tion she, roaming carelessly through life, with no 
thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent flight 
of the raven-winged hours. Berenice ! I call upon 
her name Berenice ! and from the gray ruins of 
memory a thousand tumultuous recollections are startled 
at the sound. Ah, vividly is her image before me now, 
as in the early days of her light-heartedness and joy ! 
O gorgeous yet fantastic beauty ! O sylph amid the 
shrubberies of Arnheim ! O Naiad among its foun 
tains ! And then then all is mystery and terror, 
and a tale which should not be told. Disease, fatal 
disease, fell like the simoom upon her frame ; and even 
while I gazed upon her, the spirit of change swept over 
her, pervading her mind, her habits, her character, and 
in a manner the most subtle and terrible, disturbing 
even the identity of her person." 


Here is the premonition of the ill husband, solitary, 
introspective, Hamlet-like in his profuse soliloquizing on 
Death and the Eternal, a more than Werther in the 
fiery intensity of his monologue, and of the mortally 
stricken wife ten or twelve years before the dread 
catastrophe of his illness and her death came to pass, 
a prophetic realization, in advance, of what was to 
happen in I 847. 

The early New York period was devoted to the 
completion of " The Narrative of Arthur Gordon 
Pym," a story of an Antarctic Cruise as far south as 
the 84th parallel, made up of equal ingredients of Poe, 
"The Ancient Mariner," and Benjamin MorelPs 
"Narrative of Four Voyages to the South Seas and 
Pacific" (New York: 1832: pp. 183 seq.}. To 
give realism to the adventures, Poe paraphrased Morell 
largely as to facts, but had only to draw on his own 
marvellous imagination to explain them or to conceive 
situations full of graphic horror and exquisite though 
terrible landscape-painting, alternately Claudelike and 
Salvatoresque in their poetic or their supernatural 
beauty. Such was the realism of the narrative that 
it was taken for genuine and, after its appearance in 
book form in 1838, it was reprinted by the Putnams 
in England. 

The period from 1838 to 1844 Poe and his little 
family spent in Philadelphia, then the literary metrop 
olis of the Union. While he was in Richmond he 
is said to have received an invitation from Dr. F. L. 
Hawks of North Carolina to come to New York and 
collaborate with him on the newly projected " New 
York Review." His one contribution to this theo 
logical quarterly then in the throes of the financial 
panic of 183738 was a review of Stephens 


"Travels in Arabia Petraea," partly original, partly 
compiled from the book itself and from Keith s work 
on Prophecy. Professor Anthon contributed the 
Hebrew learning of the article. 

In a faded and time-stained copy of the " Baltimore 
Book" for 1839, edited by W. H. Carpenter and T. 
S. Arthur, now lying before us, we find : 

Siope A Fable. 

[In the manner of the Psychological Autobiographists] 
By Edgar Poe. 

Ours is a world of words : Quiet we call 
Silence which is the merest word of all. 

(At Aaraaf.) 

the earliest form of an allegory which is perhaps 
Poe s most majestic piece of prose, worthy of Jean Paul 
Richter in its music and magnificence. This earliest 
form of the fable is destitute of the fine lines from the 
Greek of Alcman and their English interpretation by 
Poe, found in later editions, and shows that " Arthur 
Gordon Pym " did not wholly occupy the poet s time 
at this period. 

Philadelphia in the late thirties and forties was an 
interesting place intellectually. Here the first monthly 
magazine, the first daily newspaper, the first religious 
magazine, the first religious weekly, the first penny 
paper, mathematical journal, juvenile magazine, and 
illustrated comic paper, ever published in the United 
States, had started on their career about the middle of 
the eighteenth century. 

We have several pleasant glimpses of the Poes dur 
ing this period of their sojourn in Philadelphia, even 

13IOGRAPHY. [35 

Griswold paying a tribute to the beauty of their home 

" It was while he resided in Philadelphia that I 
became acquainted with him. 

" His manner, except during his fits of intoxication, 
was very quiet and gentlemanly. He was usually 
dressed with simplicity and elegance, and when once 
he sent for me to visit him, during a period of illness 
caused by protracted and anxious watching at the side 
of his sick wife, I was impressed by the singular neat- 
iess and the air of refinement in his home. 

" It was in a small house in one of the pleasant and 
silent neighborhoods far from the centre of the town, 
and though slightly and cheaply furnished, everything 
in it was so tasteful and so fitly disposed that it seemed 
altogether suitable for a man of genius." 

"The residence described," adds Gill, 1 "was a 
small, brick tenement in North Seventh Street, in 
that part of the city then known as Spring Garden. 
The house was on the rear portion of the lot, leaving 
a large vacant space in front, affording Poe and his 
gentle invalid wife opportunity for indulging their pen 
chant for plants and flowers." 

Mr. C. W. Alexander, publisher of the "Gentle 
man s Magazine," and a founder of the Philadelphia 
"Saturday Evening Post," wrote a year after Poe s 
death of his association with him on the magazine : 

" I had long and familiar intercourse with him, and 
very cheerfully embrace the opportunity which you 
now offer of bearing testimony to the uniform gentle 
ness of disposition [italics Mr. A. s] and kindness of 
heart which distinguished Mr. Poe in all my inter- 

1 Life of Edgar A. Poe, p. 1005 Chatto and Windus: 1878. 


course with him. With all his faults, he was a gentle 
man ; which is more than can be said of some who 
have undertaken the ungracious task of blacking the 
reputation which Mr. Poe, of all others, esteemed the 
precious jewel of his soul. 

"That Mr. Poe had faults," he continues, "seri 
ously detrimental to his own interests, none, of course, 
will deny. They were, unfortunately, too well 
known in the literary circles of Philadelphia, were 
there any disposition to conceal them. But he alone 
was the sufferer, and not those who received the bene 
fit of his pre-eminent talents, however irregular his 
habits or uncertain his contributions may occasionally 
have been." 

There is a continuous array of testimony of this 
kind, acknowledging indeed Poe s infirmities though 
there is far from unanimity as to these, some absolutely 
denying them but almost universally emphasizing 
his essential goodness of heart. His continual necessi 
ties made him an incessant borrower, and his accounts 
occasionally became entangled ; but no one familiar 
with his published and unpublished correspondence 
will deny his equally incessant anxiety to pay his 
whole indebtedness to the very last penny. 

Another pleasing glimpse of the domestic life of the 
Poes at this time is given by one who knew them 

" Their little garden in summer, and the house in 
winter, were overflowing with luxuriant grape and 
other vines, and liberally ornamented with choice 
flowers of the poet s selection. Poe was a pattern of 
social and domestic worth. It was our happiness to 
participate with them in the occasional enjoyment of 
the beauty of the flowers, and to watch the enthusiasm 


with which the fondly attached pair exhibited their 
floral taste. Here, too, we were wont to participate 
in the hospitality which always rendered Foe s home 
the home of his friends. We call to mind some inci 
dents in the pleasantly remembered intercourse that 
existed between the ladies of our families, especially in 
the hours of sickness, which rendered so much of Vir 
ginia s life a source of painful anxiety to all who had 
the pleasure of knowing her, and of witnessing the 
gradual wasting away of her fragile frame. 

" But she was an exquisite picture of patient love 
liness, always wearing upon her beautiful countenance 
the smile of resignation, and the warm, ever-cheerful 
look with which she ever greeted her friends. 

" How devotedly her husband loved the gentle 
being is touchingly illustrated in the Griswold descrip 
tion of his visit [quotation]. . . . This, coming 
from the malignant Griswold, is an eloquent tribute 
to the kindly and tender spirit of Poe, whose devotion 
no adversity, not even the fiend that haunted him in 
the fatal cup, could warp or lessen, and this attachment, 
intense as it was, was equally strong and enduring in 
the soul of his Annabel Lee, his gentle mate, 
whose affection that poem so touchingly and sadly 
commemorates : 

" * And this maiden, she lived with no other thought 
Than to love and be loved by me. 

" She was a child, sings the poem; and, indeed, 
Poe himself was little else in the everyday perplexities 
and responsibilities of life. On leaving Philadelphia 
for New York, when breaking up their simple, fairy- 
like home, we were favored with some of their pet 
flowers, which, preserved and framed, remain in our 


household to this day as interesting relics of those 
happy days with Edgar and Virginia." 

The author of this pretty pen-picture of the Poe 
home life was T. Cottrell Clarke, first editor of the 
famous Philadelphia " Saturday Evening Post," which 
had been founded in 1821 by Atkinson & Alexander 
and was published in the office once occupied by Ben 
jamin Franklin, back of No. 53 Market Street. 

In fact, no one ever came very near the Poes 
without being struck by the wholesomeness, sanity, 
beauty, and brightness of their surroundings. The 
direst poverty might reign as it did through life 
in their immediate vicinity, yet there is none of the 
squalor or moral degradation, irresponsibility or seedy 
neglect which the health of both husband and wife 
and the frequent extremity of their needs might well 
have excused. The Imp of the Perverse ruled there 
rarely, only as the Imp of the Cup the hereditary 
fiend which William Poe, his cousin, in a well-known 
letter to Edgar, declared to be "a great enemy to our 
family " : 

" There is one thing I am anxious to caution you 
against, and which has been a great enemy to our 
family, I hope, however, in your case, it may prove 
unnecessary, a too free use of the bottle. " 1 

In Philadelphia it was Poe s singular fortune to fall 
in with the Good and the Evil Angel of his life 
with George R. Graham and Rufus Wilmot Griswold 
two persons whose influence on his career during 
critical periods was profound and far-reaching. The 
dead French Academician is usually eulogized by his 
successor ; the dead man of letters is sometimes kicked 
by his expected eulogist. 

1 Century Magazine, Sept., 1894, p. 737. 


The story of s( Graham s Magazine," which exer 
cised an influence on American ante-bellum letters un 
equalled by any other periodical, not even excepting 
the younger "Atlantic Monthly," is condensed by 
Mr. A. H. Smyth from Mr. Graham s own lips, as 
follows : l 

" Graham was the owner and editor of Atkinson s 
Casket, when, in 1841, William E. Burton, the 
actor, came to him with the request that he should buy 
The Gentleman s Magazine, of which Burton had 
been the proprietor for four years. Burton explained 
that money was needed for his new theatre, that the 
magazine must be sold, that it numbered 3,500 sub 
scribers, and that it would be sold outright for $3, 500. 
Graham, who at that time had 1,500 subscribers to 
his own magazine, accepted the offer, and The 
Gentleman s Magazine was transferred to him. 
There is one thing more, said Burton, I want you 
to take care of my young editor. That young editor 
who, in this manner, entered the employ of George 
Graham was Edgar Allan Poe." 

Mr. Graham bore clear and willing testimony to the 
efficient service rendered by Poe to the new magazine, 
which, now combined with the "Casket," took the 
name of its new owner. From 5,000 subscribers, the 
number soon increased to over 37,000 (Smyth), 
certainly a good sign of a new editor ! Graham found 
little in Poe s conduct to reprove, nor did he remem 
ber (continues Mr. Smyth) any cause beyond envy 
and malice for Griswold s truculent slanders. A 
quarrel of an hour led to Poe s dismissal, but the 
friendly relations between the poet and his former em- 

1 A. H. Smyth : Philadelphia Magazines and their Contribu 
tors: 1892. 


ployer remained unsevered. From New York, Poe 
sent Graham the manuscript of a story for which he 
asked and received $50. The story remained unpub 
lished for a year, when Poe again appeared in the 
editorial room and begged for the return of the manu 
script, that he might try with it for the prize of $ i oo 
offered by the " Dollar Magazine " for the best prose 
tale. Graham showed his <f love and friendship " for 
the author by surrendering the story, and the judges 
awarded to Poe the prize for " The Gold-Bug." 

The "Dollar Magazine" began its career in 
January, 1843, and its publishers were the publishers 
of the " Ledger." When George W. Childs pur 
chased the "Ledger," he bought also the "Dollar 
Magazine," and changed its name to the "Home 
Weekly and Household Newspaper." In it Haw 
thorne published, in 1851, "The Unpardonable 

Meanwhile, after the resignation of Poe, the maga 
zine, still under Graham s management, was edited by 
Ann S. Stephens and Charles J. Peterson, until Rufus 
Wilmot Griswold sat in the responsible chair. James 
Russell Lowell was a subordinate editor of the maga 
zine as early as 1 843 and invited Hawthorne, at the 
instance of Poe, to become a contributor. Graham 
himself took a large hand in the editorial conduct of 
his magazine, though after Gris wold s dismissal, the 
well-known critic E. P. Whipple wrote the editorial 
reviews of more important books. 

Beginning with Volume XVIII., being the addition 
of the ten volumes of Atkinson s " Casket," and the 
seven volumes of Burton s " Gentleman s Magazine," 
Graham s first volume, in 1841, was distinguished by 
the appearance of Poe s "Descent into the Mael- 


strom," and his "Murders in the Rue Morgue. On 
the cover of Volume XXI., 1 842, appears the name of 
Griswold; and Bayard Taylor and Charles Godfrey 
Leland were successive editors. 

According to Graham s own statement (Smyth, 
223), the circulation of the magazine at the height 
of its popularity never exceeded 35,000, or 37,000. 
He sold the magazine in 1 848, but bought it back in 
1849, parting with it definitely only in 1854. 

No publication of the day, on this side of the water, 
had so many and such remarkable contributors, Wash 
ington Irving being the only prominent literary Ameri 
can of the day who held aloof. He was the editor of 
the rival " Knickerbocker," which is said jealously to 
have guarded the productions of its one great writer. 
In "Graham s" appeared Longfellow s " Spanish 
Student," "Belfry of Bruges," "Nuremberg," 
"Childhood," "The Arsenal at Springfield," and 
other poems. Hawthorne s "Twice-Told Tales" 
largely appeared first in "Graham s." George D. 
Prentice, Fanny Forrester, Alice and Phoebe Cary, 
Grace Greenwood, William Gilmore Simms, Miss 
Sedgwick, Frances S. Osgood, N. P. Willis, J. K. 
Paulding, Park Benjamin, W. W. Story, Charles 
Fenno Hoffman, and Albert Pike (of " Isadore " 
fame) were among the writers who aided to surround 
the new venture with a halo of literary glory. 

And this glory came from Graham s honest recog 
nition of the fact that his contributors must be well 
paid : the first American magazine manager that recog 
nized such business responsibilities. The popularity of 
the new magazine, under the new management and 
with such a corps of contributors, was almost instan 


The other the Evil angel of Poe s life was 
Griswold, who succeeded him in the editorial chair 
of "Graham s." 

The Rev. Rufus Wilmot Griswold, D.D., was a 
Baptist minister who divided his time between literature 
and religion. Born in Vermont in 1815, he was of 
excellent Puritan and English lineage, with marked 
literary tastes and acquirements and so indefatigable as 
a compiler and editor that though dying at the early 
age of forty-two, in 1857, he left behind an immense 
mass of work in history, memoirs, editions, and com 
pilations creditable to his taste and skill. Among the 
journals he edited were "The New Yorker," "The 
Brother Jonathan," " The New World," "Graham s 
Magazine" (1842-1 843), and "The International 
Magazine." His contributions to journalism alone 
would fill a dozen octavo volumes, while he wrote six 
or eight independent works on history, biography, 
philosophy, and theology, with poems, and a novel. 

But the work which of all others has endowed 
Griswold s name with immortality an " immortality 
of infamy," as George R. Graham calls it is <( The 
Works of Edgar A. Poe ; Poems, Tales, and Miscel 
lanies ; with a Memoir;" two vols., 1849, followed 
by a third containing the notorious suppressed biogra 
phy, and a fourth, completing the publication. 

All the authorities of the time gave unstinted praise 
to Griswold as a compiler ; the poet Campbell, 
Whipple, Irving, Poe, Prescott the historian, Bryant, 
Tuckerman, and other eminent literati praised the 
collections dedicated to the American poets and prose 
writers of the first jubilee of the century, works which 
are, indeed, invaluable for the facts they contain and 
for what they have rescued from oblivion. Griswold 


possessed, too, a brilliant and pungent style, which 
reveals itself often in the Poe Memoir and a critical gift 
delicate, incisive, penetrating of no mean order. 
With all the masculine strength and untiring industry 
that he displayed was mingled, however, one soft, one 
weak spot : he believed himself to be a poet ; and on 
this spot Poe as might have been expected in 
fallibly put his finger. 

But in contrasting these good and evil demons of 
Poe s existence so much at length, the conscientious 
biographer should not overlook the smaller but likewise 
significant agencies that contributed to mould and 
round out existence for him at this time. 

Among these were Dr. N. C. Brooks of Baltimore 
and his "American Museum," published in the Mon 
umental City, "The Gift" (Miss Leslie s "An 
nual"), the Pittsburg "Literary Examiner," and 
Burton s "Gentleman s Magazine." 

Instead of writing a review of Irving, whom he did 
not like but considered an "overrated writer" of 
"surreptitious and adventitious reputation," of "tame 
propriety and faultlessness of style" as Dr. Brooks 
had requested him Poe sent the freshest and most 
powerful of his tales the dream- tale "Ligeia," said 
on the margin of Ingram s copy, in a MS. note, 
to have been dreamed, like Kubla Khan, while he 
was asleep. 

In December, 1838, Poe contributed to "The 
American Museum," "The Signora Zenobia," and 
"The Scythe of Time" (rechristened, later, "How 
to Write a Blackwood Article," and "A Predica 

"The Gift" for 1839 energized him into writing 
his story of dualism, the favorite Doppelganger idea 


of German literature, "William Wilson, " in which 
he dramatizes Conscience and makes it subordinate 
to the animal nature. The old balladry of England 
and Germany is full of the story of the man of two 
natures so loosely amalgamated that they slip asunder and 
the evil one goes forth to roam at the midnight hour, 
or the good one fiercely incarnates itself and confronts 
the other : ideas as old as the ancient Persian dualism 
of Light and Darkness, of Ormuzd and Ahriman dallied 
with by Shelley, and Hawthorne, and Calderon, and 
Stevenson, and Goethe (whose Faust and Mephisto 
appear simply radiations of the good and the evil in a 
naturally combined Fanst-Mephisto) . Poe has artisti 
cally slipped the razorlike edge of his analysis in be 
tween these twin natures, separated their sutures without 
the spilling of blood, and set them adrift as marvellous 
automata, to play over against each other. 

"The Museum" for April contained "The 
Haunted Palace," and the " Gentleman s Magazine" 
for September " The Fall of the House of Usher," 
two masterpieces which by a sort of magnetic affinity 
ultimately ran together and were combined in one story. 
Of this combined masterpiece Lowell said in "Gra 
ham s" for February, 1845: 

"As an example of his style we would refer to one 
of his tales, The House of Usher, in the first vol 
ume of his Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque. 
It has a singular charm for us, and we think that no one 
could read it without being strongly moved by its 
serene and sombre beauty. Had its author written 
nothing else it would alone have been enough to 
stamp him as a man of genius, and the master of a 
classic style. In this tale occurs one of the most beau 
tiful of his poems. It loses greatly by being taken out of 


its rich and appropriate setting, but we cannot deny 
ourselves the pleasure of copying it here. We know 
no modern poet who might not have been justly proud 
of it." [Here he quotes " The Haunted Palace," and 
adds :] 

" Was ever the wreck and desolation of a noble 
mind so musically sung ?" 

In a note evidently inspired by Poe himself this 
number of " Graham s " (p. 52) says : 

" Since the publication of the Tales of the Gro 
tesque and Arabesque, Mr. P. has written, for this 
and other journals, the following tales, independently 
of essays, criticisms, etc. : The Mystery of Marie 
Roget/ Never Bet Your Head [sit], < A Tale of 
the Ragged Mountains, The Masque of the Red 
Death/ The Colloquy of Monos and Una, The 
Landscape Garden [stf], * The Pit and the Pendu 
lum/ The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The 
Man of the Crowd, The System of Doctors Tarr 
and Fether [sic], The Spectacles, The Elk, 
< The Business Man, The Premature Burial/ The 
Oblong Box/ Thou Art the Man/ Eleonora/ 
Three Sundays in a Week/ The Island of the Fay/ 
Life in Death/ The Angel of the Odd/ The Lit 
erary Life of Thingum-Bob/ The Descent into the 
Maelstrom/ The looz-Tale of Scheherazade/ 
Mesmeric Revelation, The Murders in the Rue 
Morgue/ The Purloined Letter/ and The Gold- 
Bug. He is also the author of the late Balloon- 
Hoax. The Grotesque and Arabesque included 
twenty-five tales." 

"The Haunted Palace" appeared in April, and 
in the following November appeared Longfellow s 
Beleaguered City " in the " Southern Literary Mes- 
VOL. i. 10 


senger." A furious controversy arose in which Poe 
accused the New England poet of stealing his idea. 
The reader may judge for himself by comparing the 
two poems. 

There was no reason for Poe s jealousy of Long 
fellow since the poems are as unlike as charcoal and 
diamond. Poe never seems to have realized that he 
could not be plagiarized, that he was too unique and 
original to be copied, that Poe could not under any 
circumstances be Longfellow. The pretty and pic 
turesque conceit of "The Beleaguered City," is as 
different from the glory and ghostliness of "The 
Haunted Palace" as the solemn, almost insane head 
of Dante is from that of a cherub afloat in one of Cor- 
reggio s ceilings. 

The year 1839 was signalized by two events, one 
unimportant, but remarkable as showing the spirit of 
his enemies, the publication of "The Conchologist s 
First Book" ; the other as witnessing the issue of 
perhaps the most original volume of short stories ever 
published the " Tales of the Grotesque and Ara 

As we write, the first and second editions of the 
manual on conchology (1839, 1840: Philadelphia: 
Haswell, Barrington, & Haswell) are before us. The 
facsimile of the title-page of the edition of 1839 re veals 
all the minutiae of the descriptive title once in vogue. 
This is followed by a preface signed E. A. P., ex 
plaining the terms Malacology and Conchology, with 
acknowledgments to Mr. Isaac Lea of Philadelphia 
and Mr. Thomas Wyatt, "and his late excellent 
Manual of Conchology.* Three pages of intro 
duction, with quotations from De Blainville, Parkinson, 
and Bergman pages very agreeably written intro- 




A S Y S T E M 



3rvaitflcTi evprcsslj for tfte use of Schools, 













duce twelve pages of engraved plates of shells, their 
parts, hinges, etc. Chapters on <e Explanation of the 
Parts of Shells," and on "Classification," then fill up 
fourteen or fifteen pages more; when at p. 25 the 
body of the text begins, and extends to p. 1 46 inclusive. 
A " Glossary " and "Index " complete the volume, 
which contains ten pages fewer than the slightly en 
larged edition of 1840. The outside cover has a 
stamped illustration of shells, weeds, and grasses, and 
the book is bound in paper boards, and copyrighted 
in Poe s name. 

Poe s course in the composition of this work up to 
page 20 was undoubtedly irregular and reprehensible 
in not calling attention to the fact that the first twenty 
pages of the work, including preface, introduction, and 
explanation of the shells, were a close paraphrase of 
Captain Thomas Brown s " Conchologist s Text- 
Book," published in Glasgow in 1837, whence also 
Poe s plates are drawn. The remainder of the book 
is a bit of "job work" arranged between Professor 
Wyatt, Professor McMurtrie, and Poe, Poe s "name 
being put to the work, as best known and most likely 
to aid its circulation." "I wrote the Preface and 
Introduction, and translated from Cuvier the accounts 
of the animals, etc. All schoolbooks are necessarily 
made in a similar way. The very title-page acknowl 
edges that the animals are given according to 
Cuvier." (Poe, February, 1847.) 

Wyatt, it seems, had published through the Har 
pers an expensive work that would not sell ; hence, 
turning to Poe as a brilliant and necessitous litterateur 
of the day, willing and anxious for a "pot-boiler," he 
engaged the poet to popularize the work and issue an 
edition under his own (Poe s) name. Wyatt sold the 


book himself and is, jointly with Poe, responsible for 
it and its exhibition of moral obliquity. 

The translation and digest of Lemmonnier s " Na 
tural History," attributed to Poe, cannot now be 
traced to him, though he speaks of his intimate know 
ledge of it in Burton s " Gentleman s Magazine" for 
July, 1839. 

In July, 1839, he became associate-editor with the 
comedian Burton of f< The Gentleman s Magazine and 
American Monthly Review," the enterprise of a his 
trionic Englishman who claimed to be a graduate of 
Cambridge University. Some of his old poems, book- 
notices, reviews of various kinds, " The Man That 
Was Used Up," The Fall of the House of Usher," 
and "The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion " 
(the last three appearing for the first time) summed 
up his contributions to "Burton s" from July to 
December, the last two alone being sufficient to make 
the reputation of an unknown writer. 

At this point, in a two-volume publication copy 
righted in 1839, published by Lea & Blanchard, of 
Philadelphia, and dedicated to Colonel William Dray- 
ton, the student reaches the first golden milestone in the 
poet s career. At thirty years of age, before George 
Eliot or Emerson or, one might say, Walter Scott had 
begun to write, Poe had produced most of the prose 
and much of the verse upon which his enduring fame 
will rest. 

All the Poe types reveal themselves in these volumes 
and stand before us in statuesque perfection : the 
lonely forlorn woman stricken with early disease and 
death ; the tale of terror and conscience ; the old- 
world romance charged with poetic German mediae- 
valism ; the story whose germ is found in an exquisite 


poem imbedded in the text, like the Mignon poems of 
the Wilhelm Meister ; the wonderful fictions of 
pseudo-science in which imagination scarce outdoes 
reality ; the eloquent Platonic dialogue discussing the 
high themes of immortality, the emotions and sensations 
of death and the death-chamber, or the destruction of 
the globe ; the humorous grotesque in which whims 
and vices are scored with a fun and fancy that recall 
the quaint mythologic life and quainter landscapes on 
the walls of a Pompeian villa ; life-in-death with its 
dramatic self-realization and infinitely subtle self- 
analysis ; and the wondrous fables of Siience and 
Shadow that recall the marvellous allegories of Novalis 
or of Schleiermacher. The ratiocinative tale alone is 
absent from these 500 pages, agenresoon to develop 
with swift and magic force in " The Murders in the 
Rue Morgue," " The Mystery of Marie Roget," and 
" The Gold-Bug." What Poe did in the remaining 
decade of his life was to refine, polish, amplify this 
already ample achievement, and to add those inimitable 
" jingle" poems which Emerson, having no sense of 
rhythm himself, strove vainly to sneer out of existence 
with an epithet. 

To have accomplished all this in three decades, 
handicapped as Poe was by disease, illness, poverty, 
want, and persecution, was to achieve a high and 
noble distinction that places him even above the young 
immortals, Keats and Andre Chenier, who possessed 
solely the gift of song. 

The 1840 edition of the "Tales" was entered in 
the clerk s office for the eastern district of Pennsylvania 
in 1839. The following is the title-page copied from 
the original : 

" Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. I By 


Edgar A. Foe. | (Seltsamen tochter Jovis seinem 
schosskinde Der Phantasie. GOETHE.) | In two 
volumes. | Philadelphia : Lea and Blanchard. 1 840. 

"Dedication. These Volumes are Inscribed to 
Colonel William Drayton, of Philadelphia, with every 
Sentiment of Respect, Gratitude, and Esteem, By his 
obliged Friend and Servant, THE AUTHOR. 

" Preface. The epithets Grotesque and Ara 
besque will be found to indicate with sufficient pre 
cision the prevalent tenor of the tales here published. 
But from the fact that, during a period of some two or 
three years, I have written five-and-twenty short stories 
whose general character may be so briefly denned, it 
cannot be fairly inferred at all events it is not truly 
inferred that I have, for this species of writing, any 
inordinate, or indeed any peculiar taste or preposses 
sion. I may have written with an eye to republica- 
tion in volume form, and may, therefore, have desired 
to preserve, as far as a certain point, a certain unity of 
design. This is, indeed, the fact ; and it may even 
happen that, in this manner, I shall never compose 
anything again. I speak of these things here, because 
I am led to think it is this prevalence of the ( Ara 
besque in my serious tales, which has induced one 
or two critics to tax me, in all friendliness, with what 
they have pleased to term Germanism and gloom. 
The charge is in bad taste, and the grounds of the ac 
cusation have not been sufficiently considered. Let us 
admit, for the moment, that the phantasy-pieces 
now given are Germanic, or what "not. Then Ger 
manism is the vein for the time being. To 
morrow I may be anything but German, as yesterday I 
was everything else. These many pieces are yet one 
book. My friends would be quite as wise in taxing 


an astronomer with too much astronomy, or an ethical 
author with treating too largely of morals. But the 
truth is that, with a single exception, there is no one 
of these stories in which the scholar should recognize 
the distinctive features of that species of pseudo-horror 
which we are taught to call Germanic, for no better 
reason than that some of the secondary names of Ger 
man literature have become identified with its folly. 
If in many of my productions terror has been the 
thesis, I maintain that terror is not of Germany, but 
of the soul that I have deduced this terror only 
from its legitimate sources, and urged it only to its 
legitimate results. 

" There are one or two of the articles here, (con 
ceived and executed in the purest spirit of extrava 
ganza,) to which I expect no serious attention, and of 
which I shall speak no farther. But for the rest I can 
not conscientiously claim indulgence on the score of 
hasty effort. I think it best becomes me to say, there 
fore, that if I have sinned, I have deliberately sinned. 
These brief compositions are, in chief part, the results 
of matured purpose and very careful elaboration. 

" Contents of Vol. I. Morella ; Lionizing; Wil 
liam Wilson ; The Man that was Used Up ; The Fall 
of the House of Usher ; The Due de 1 Omelette ; MS. 
Found in a Bottle ; Bon-Bon ; Shadow ; The Devil in 
the Belfry ; Ligeia ; King Pest ; The Signora Zenobia ; 
The Scythe of Time. 

"Contents of Vol. II. Epimanes ; Siope; Hans 
Phaall [sic] ; A Tale of Jerusalem ; Von Jung ; Loss 
of Breath ; Metzenger stein ; Berenice ; Why the Little 
Frenchman wears his Hand in a Sling ; The Visionary ; 
The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion. 

"Appendix [containing a criticism of R. A. 


Locke s famous Moon Hoax, in addition to Foe s 
short note to * Hans Phaall ]." 

Of these prose romances Mr. Andrew Lang, in his 
" Letters to Dead Authors," writes : 

* An English critic . . . has described them as 
Hawthorne and delirium tremens. I am not aware 
that extreme orderliness, masterly elaboration, and 
unchecked progress towards a predetermined effect 
are characteristics of the visions of delirium. If they 
be, then there is a deal of truth in the criticism, and a 
good deal of delirium tremens in your style. But 
your ingenuity, your completeness, your occasional 
luxuriance of fancy and wealth of jewel-like words, 
are not, perhaps, gifts which Mr. Hawthorne had at 
his command. He was a great writer the greatest 
writer in prose fiction whom America has produced. 
But you and he have not much in common, except a 
certain mortuary turn of mind and a taste for gloomy 
allegories about the workings of conscience. 

" For your stories has been reserved a boundless 
popularity, and that highest success the success of a 
perfectly sympathetic translation. By this time of 
course you have made the acquaintance of your trans 
lator, M.Charles Baudelaire." 





IN i 840 the great Republic rejoiced in a population 
of more than 17,000,000, among whom were a vast 
number of travelled and cultured persons profoundly 
interested in reading and in things of the spirit. A 
wave of idealism had passed over New England, 
woven of the study of German mysticism, the worship 
of Carlyle and Goethe, and a healthy reaction against 
the overwhelming materialism of the age. 

As far back as 1824, 1825, and 1827, indeed 
when Carlyle unsealed the deep fountains of German 
ideology, romance, and poetry with his translations 
of Wilhelm Meister, his " German Romance," and 
his biography of Schiller, fortified by the works of 
Sir Walter Scott as a translator, and the immense in 
fluence of Coleridge, the subtle spirit of German 
philosophy, metaphysics, and medievalism had begun 
to spread like an invisible oil, tenuous, expansive, 
all-pervading, over the English and American 
mind, aided by the numerous translations of Tieck, 
La Motte Fouque, Chamisso, the Schlegels, Schiller, 
Schelling, Heine, and Uhland that began to pour 


from the press, opening up a wonder-world of pic 
turesque " Germanism" that had before been inac 

Where or how, precisely, Poe became first inoculated 
with this spirit of occult Germany : whether it was 
bred in him and born with him, naturally, as part of 
his constitutional heritage from a mixed and high- 
strung ancestry ; or whether he drank it in with his 
Morellas and Eleanoras and Ligeias as he read and 
studied with them in the enchanted castles of his 
fancy, is not clear : Poe nowhere reduces his beliefs 
"Eureka" alone excepted to a system, and he 
revels in occultism, in mesmerism, in the miraculous 
revelations of science merely for the intellectual delight 
of the moment. That somehow somewhere he 
became saturated with the doctrines of Schelling and 
founded some of his finest tales and " dialogues of the 
dead " (" Monos and Una " and " Eiros and Char- 
mion," for example) on their poetic mysticism, there 
can be no doubt. 

Poe indeed was constitutionally disposed to "the 
flight into the land of the supernatural and the miracu 
lous ; " "a wilder d being from his birth," he never 
ceased to see visions and dream dreams ; along with 
all the great poets that have ever lived Homer, Vir 
gil, Dante, Caedmon, Chaucer, Langland, Tennyson 
his dreams were his most vivid realities, and he 
was of the dreaming race the Germanic the 
race of Novalis and Schelling, his masters across the 
German sea. 

With the publication of " The Tales of the Gro 
tesque and Arabesque" in 1840, Poe found himself 
in an environment of unexampled richness, not only 
for what it had already accomplished, but also for 


what it promised. Lowell, Hawthorne, Motley, Em 
erson, Holmes, Whittier, Longfellow, Bryant, Irving, 
were his immediate contemporaries and brethren in 
art ; all about him the glades the magazines were 
vocal with the male and female songsters to whom he 
was now to turn a biting or a flattering pen ; literary 
animalcules thirsting for recognition swarmed in every 
hedge-row and flooded the press with their pipings. 

Among these Poe soon towered as a giant ; even the 
lordly Irving, who had so long figured as the supreme 
pontiff of American letters, acknowledged his genius 
Irving, who was to America, in the forties, what 
Goethe had been to Germany and Voltaire had been 
to France. Possessed of a fearless and independent 
mind, of extensive knowledge, and of a definite, indi 
vidual, and sententious system of criticism, Poe lived 
in an exceedingly trying age certainly that part of 
it which extended from 1840 to 1849 when cir 
cumstances forced him to turn his attention criti 
cally to his contemporaries. He believed himself 
to be a great critic ; and he spoke from his judicial 
throne with a " cock-sure " Macaulayan infallibility 
that was exceedingly irritating to the mob ; as sur 
prising, indeed, as his belief in his own infallible powers 
of solving puzzles and enigmas, of the cryptographic 
kind which he now began contributing to Alexander s 
" Weekly Messenger ;" asserting that " human in 
genuity cannot construct any cryptograph human inge 
nuity cannot decipher." 

Our preceding chapter contained a brief notice of 
Burton and his "Gentleman s Magazine," with an 
account of its ultimate purchase by George R. Gra 
ham and its absorption, with " The Casket," into 
"Graham s Magazine." 


The partnership of Poe and Burton never ami 
cable appears in their joint names in the title-page 
of the " Gentleman s Magazine," 1 for 1840. He 
had been appointed editor of this in July, 1839, anc ^ to 
the September number he contributed one of the 
most thrilling and artistic of his tales, "The Fall of 
the House of Usher," incidentally, in the portrait 
of Roderick Usher, painting the following portrait of 
himself : 

" The character of his face had been at all times 
remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion ; an 
eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison ; 
lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpass 
ingly beautiful curve ; a nose of a delicate Hebrew 
model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar 
formations ; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its 
want of prominence, of a want of moral energy ; hair 
of a more than web-like softness and tenuity : these 
features, with an inordinate expansion of the temple 
[see the Cole portrait of Poe] made up altogether a 
countenance not easily to be forgotten." 

The Israfel motif appears in the couplet from Beran- 
ger, which introduces this spectral sonata in words : 

" Son coeur est un luth suspendu ; 
Sitot qu on le touche il resonne." 

During the remainder of 1839 Poe reprinted in 
the " Gentleman s " " William Wilson" and " Mo- 
rella," some of his short poems, short reviews of books, 
and in the December number, an original contribution, 
"The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion," a dia- 

1 The author is much indebted to Mr. John Thomson, Librarian 
of the Free Library, Philadelphia, for the loan of files of this 
magazine and of Graham s : 1839-1849. 


loguc intensely dramatic in its word-painting, carrying 
to a rare point of perfection a literary form in which 
he indulged but three times, though each time master 
fully : " The Colloquy of Monos and Una," "The 
Conversation of Eiros and Charmion," and "The 
Power of Words. In "The Conversation of Eiros 
and Charmion " one sees the calm Platonic dialogue, 
surcharged with a frightful meaning and working up 
to its acme by means of terrific supernatural machin 
ery undreamt of in the days and in the dreams of 
Plato : certainly no more plausible theory vision 
one may truly call it of the ultimate destruction of the 
globe was ever imagined or conjured up in words. 

All his life Poe pursued the will o the wisp idea of 
establishing a literary journal that should be fearless, 
independent, critical, and classical in style and spirit ; 
the last journey of his restless and fevered life being 
undertaken with this object. In Philadelphia the 
demon pursued him while he was in the employ of 
Burton and Graham ; it pursued him in New York ; 
and his correspondence is full of it. The Philadelphia 
" Saturday Chronicle" for June 13, 1840, contained 
the announcement that " The Penn Monthly," edited 
by Edgar A. Poe, would appear January I, 1841, and 
prospectuses were widely distributed. It is supposed 
that a quarrel arose between Poe and Burton on account 
of the new magazine ; Poe was accused of stealing 
Burton s subscription list and of neglecting his office 
duties on "The Gentleman s," and a rupture ensued. 
That he neglected these duties is emphatically denied 
by Mr. C. W. Alexander, publisher of the magazine, 
who in October, 1850 (Gill, p. 97), wrote: 

" The absence of the principal editor [Burton] on 
professional duties left the matters frequently in the 


hands of Mr. Poe, whose unfortunate failing may have 
occasioned some disappointment in the preparation of a 
particular article expected from him, but never inter 
fering with the regular publication of the Gentle 
man s Magazine, as its monthly issue was never 
interrupted upon any occasion, either from Mr. Foe s 
deficiency, or from any other cause, during my publi 
cation of it, embracing the whole time of Mr. Poe s 
connection with it." 

This candid and clear statement is ingeniously twisted 
by one of Poe s biographers into a confirmation of 
the poet s intemperance and into a refutation of the 
following admirable letter to his old friend Dr. J. E. 
Snodgrass, in which he describes his habits at Rich 
mond and Philadelphia : 

PHILADELPHIA, April i, 1841. 

MY DEAR SNODGRASS, I fear you have been think 
ing it was not my design to answer your kind letter at 
all. It is now April Fool s Day, and yours is dated 
March 8th ; but believe me, although, for good rea 
son, I may occasionally postpone my reply to your 
favors, I am never in danger of forgetting them. 

In regard to Burton. I feel indebted to you for the 
kind interest you express; but scarcely know how to 
reply. My situation is embarrassing. It is impos 
sible, as you say, to notice a buffoon and a felon, as 
one gentleman would notice another. The law, then, 
is my only resource. Now, if the truth of a scandal 
could be admitted in justification I mean of what 
the law terms a scandal I would have matters all 
my own way. I would institute a suit, forthwith, for 
his personal defamation of myself. He would be un 
able to prove the truth of his allegations. I could 


prove their falsity and their malicious intent by wit 
nesses who, seeing me at all hours of every day, 
would have the best right to speak I mean Burton s 
own clerk, Morrell, and the compositors of the print 
ing office. In fact, I could prove the scandal almost 
by acclamation. I should obtain damages. But, on 
the other hand, I have never been scrupulous in re 
gard to what I have said of him. I have always told 
him to his face, and everybody else, that I looked upon 
him as a blackguard and a villain. This is notorious. 
He would meet me with a cross-action. The truth of 
the allegation which I could [as] easily prove as he 
would find it difficult to prove the truth of his own 
respecting me would not avail me. The law will 
not admit, as justification of my calling Billy Burton a 
scoundrel, that Billy Burton is really such. What then 
can I do ? If I sue, he sues : you see how it is. 

At the same time as I may, after further reflec 
tion, be induced to sue, I would take it as an act 
of kindness not to say justice on your part, if you 
would see the gentleman of whom you spoke, and as 
certain with accuracy all that may legally avail me ; 
that is to say, what and when were the words used, 
and whether your friend would be willing for your 
sake, for my sake, and for the sake of truth, to give 
evidence if called upon. Will you do this for me ? 

So far for the matter inasmuch as it concerns 
Burton. I have now to thank you for your defence of 
myself, as stated. You are a physician, and I pre 
sume no physician can have difficulty in detecting the 
drunkard at a glance. You are, moreover, a literary 
man, well read in morals. 

You will never be brought to believe that I could 
write what I daily write, as I write it, were I as this 


villain woukl induce those who know me not, to be 
lieve. In fine, I pledge you, before God, the solemn 
word of a gentleman, that I am temperate even to 
rigor. From the hour in which I first saw this basest 
of calumniators to the hour in which I retired from his 
office in uncontrollable disgust at his chicanery, arro 
gance, ignorance and brutality, nothing stronger than 
water ever passed my lips. 

It is, however, due to candor that I inform you 
upon what foundation he has erected his slanders. At 
no period of my life was I ever what men call intem 
perate. I never was in the habit of intoxication. I 
never drank drams, &c. But, for a period, while I re 
sided in Richmond, and edited the "Messenger," I cer 
tainly did give way, at long intervals, to the temptation 
held out on all sides by the spirit of Southern convivi 
ality. My sensitive temperament could not stand an 
excitement which was an every-day matter to my 
companions. In short, it sometimes happened that I 
was completely intoxicated. For some days after each 
excess I was invariably confined to bed. But it is 
now quite four years since I have abandoned every 
kind of alcoholic drink four years, with the excep 
tion of a single deviation, which occurred shortly after 
my leaving Burton, and when I was induced to resort 
to the occasional use of cider , with the hope of reliev 
ing a nervous attack. 

You will thus see, frankly stated, the whole amount 
of my sin. You will also see the blackness of that 
heart which could revive slander of this nature. 
Neither can you fail to perceive how desperate the 
malignity of the slanderer must be how resolute he 
must be to slander, and how slight the grounds upon 
which he would build up a defamation since he can 


find nothing better with which to charge me than an 
accusation which can be disproved by each and every 
man with whom I am in the habit of daily intercourse. 

I have now only to repeat to you, in general, my 
solemn assurance that my habits are as far removed 
from intemperance as the day from the night. My 
sole drink is water. 

Will you do me the kindness to repeat this assurance 
to such of your own friends as happen to speak of me 
in your hearing? 

I feel that nothing more is requisite, and you will 
agree with me upon reflection. 

Hoping soon to hear from you, I am, 
Yours most cordially, 


It is thus seen that it was the occasional convivial 
glass, not the habitual slip, that was the bane of the 
poet s existence a view confirmed by his friend 
Tucker s testimony when they were boys at the 
University of Virginia, and reasserted all through his 
later life by those nearest to him. Mrs. Clemm as 
serted positively, " For years I know he did not taste 
even a glass of wine," the period embraced being that 
between 1837 and 1841 ; testimony confirmed by L. 
A. Wilmer ("Our Press-Gang," p. 284), by Wil 
liam Gowans, "the eccentric book-miser of Nassau 
Street, who bought so many volumes, and sold so few, 
that both cellar and attic of his place of business were 
found, at his death, packed with forgotten pur 
chases ; " 2 and by many others. 

Mr. Appleton Morgan, president of the New York 

1 Poe to Snodgrass, Baltimore American, April, 1881. 

2 Appleton Morgan, Munsey j s Magazine, July, 1897, p. 529. 


Shakspeare Society, which interested itself successfully 
in getting the New York legislature to pass a bill es 
tablishing Poe Park and removing to it the Fordham 
cottage where Virginia died, writes : l 

" From those who claim to have been Poe s neigh 
bors at Fordham (184649), or who said that their 
parents had been, there came curiously contradictory 
statements as to the poet s character and habits. I 
heard it asserted that he was a shiftless, careless, un 
happy man, with a kind word for nobody a drunk 
ard who was pointed out to strangers as he reeled 
home at night. On the other hand, people who knew 
him personally, or whose fathers and mothers have so 
testified to them, have assured me that Poe never 
drank liquor simply because his stomach was so deli 
cate that a single glass of wine was poison to him, and 
that he could not, even by a physical effort, swallow, 
much less retain, a drop of ardent spirits. 

"I have been assured by this latter group of wit 
nesses, that Edgar Poe was a sweet and lovable gen 
tleman, with a smile and a courteous word or gesture 
for every one who met him ; that he dressed with 
scrupulous care, and that, however threadbare his gar 
ments, he was always precise and dainty, even dapper, 
in his neatness and in his gait ; that, far from pointing 
him out with scorn and reproach, his neighbors loved 
to see him, spoke highly of him, sympathized with his 
misfortunes, and, had they dared, would have openly 
offered him the assistance which they did, as often as 
possible, clandestinely render him." 

Dr. J. J. Moran, who attended him in his dying 
hours, asserted solemnly that there was no smell of 
liquor on his breath, and that he recoiled with horror 

1 Appleton Morgan, Munsey^s Magazine^ July, 1897, p. 5 2 9* 


from the offer to take what the physician thought was 
a necessary stimulant ; and the attention of the reader 
is called to the statement of the official who adminis 
tered the oath of temperance to Poe when he joined 
the society just before his death. 

Another most interesting letter from Poe to Burton, 
dated June I, reveals clearly Poe s lack of vanity as to 
his writings, his precision and punctiliousness in money 
matters, the large amount of work he contributed to 
the " Gentleman s Magazine" during his twelve 
months connection with it, and his exculpation of him 
self from the charge of underhanded dealing in " The 
Penn Monthly " affair. Though the total number of 
pages he contributed is inaccurately added up, the 
correct number of pages being 123 (not "132") still 
this leaves Poe an average of ten pages per month, 
not eleven, as he sums it up, for his usual monthly 
contribution to the magazine. The letter, whatever 
be its temper, is an epistolary masterpiece, clear, elo 
quent, and convincing. That Burton was really a 
good fellow, that Poe was not justified in denounc 
ing him to Snodgrass as "a buffoon and a felon" 
is plain from what we printed in a previous chapter 
where, when Graham is about to purchase the " Gen 
tleman s Magazine" and combine it with "The Cas 
ket," Burton makes a special condition that his " young 
editor [Poe] is to be taken care of." Poe wrote to 
Burton as follows : 

SIR, I find myself at leisure this Monday morn- 
ning, June I, to notice your very singular letter of 
Saturday. ... I have followed the example of 
Victorine and slept upon the matter, and you shall 
now hear what I have to say. In the first place, your 
attempts to bully me excite in my mind scarcely any 


other sentiment than mirth. When you address me 
again, preserve, if you can, the dignity of a gentle 
man. ... I shall feel myself more at liberty to be 
explicit. As for the rest, you do me gross injustice ; 
and you know it. As usual, you have wrought your 
self into a passion with me on account of some imagi 
nary wrong ; for no real injury, or attempt at injury, 
have you ever received at my hands. As I live, I am 
utterly unable to say why you are angry, or what true 
grounds of complaint you have against me. You are a 
man of impulses ; have made yourself, in consequence, 
some enemies ; have been in many respects ill-treated 
by those whom you had looked upon as friends and 
these things have rendered you suspicious. You once 
wrote in your magazine a sharp critique upon a book 
of mine a very silly book Pym. Had I written 
a similar criticism upon a book of yours, you feel that 
you would have been my enemy for life, and you 
therefore imagine in my bosom a latent hostility to 
wards yourself. This has been a mainspring in your 
whole conduct towards me since our first acquaintance. 
It has acted to prevent all cordiality. In a general 
view of human nature your idea is just but you will 
find yourself puzzled in judging me by ordinary mo 
tives. Your criticism was essentially correct, and 
therefore, although severe, it did not occasion in me 
one solitary emotion either of anger or dislike. But 
even while I write these words, I am sure you will 
not believe them. Did I not still think you, in spite 
of the exceeding littleness of some of your hurried 
actions, a man of many honorable impulses, I would 
not now take the trouble to send you this letter. I 
rannoc permit myself to suppose that you would say to 
me in cool blood what you said in your letter of yes- 


terday. You are, of course, only mistaken, in assert 
ing that I owe you a hundred dollars, and you will 
rectify the mistake at once when you come to look at 
your accounts. 

Soon after I joined you, you made me an offer of 
money, and I accepted $20. Upon another occasion, 
at my request, you sent me enclosed in a letter $30. 
Of this $30, I repaid $20 within the next fortnight 
(drawing no salary for that period). I was thus still 
in your debt $30, when not long ago I again asked a 
loan of $30, which you promptly handed to me at 
your own home. Within the last three weeks, three 
dollars each week have been retained from my salary, 
an indignity which I have felt deeply but did not re 
sent. You state the sum retained as $8, but this I 
believe is through a mistake of Mr. Morrell. My 
postage bill, at a guess, might be $9 or $10 and I 
therefore am indebted to you, upon the whole, in the 
amount of about $60. More than this sum I shall 
not pay. You state that you can no longer afford to 
pay $50 per month for 2 or 3 pages of MS. Your 
error here can be shown by reference to the magazine. 
During my year with you I have written in July, 
5 pp.; in August, 9 pp.; in Sept., 1 6 pp.; in Oct., 
/j. pp.; in Nov., 5 pp.; in Dec., 12 pp.; in Jan., 
9 pp.; in Feb., 12 pp.; in March, n pp.; in April, 
1 7 pp.; in May, 14 pp., plus 5 copied Miss Mc- 
Michael s MS.; in June, 9 pp., plus 3 copied 
Chandler s. Total, 132 pp. [y/r]. 

Dividing this sum by 1 2, we have an average of 
II pp. per month not 2 or 3. And this estimate 
leaves out of question everything in the way of extract 
or compilation. Nothing is counted but bona fide 
composition. Eleven pages, at $3 per page, would be 


$33, at the usual magazine prices. Deduct this from 
$50, my monthly salary, and we have left $17 per 
month, or $4.25 per week, for the services of proof 
reading ; general superintendence at the printing office ; 
reading, alteration and preparation of MSS., with com 
pilation of various articles, such as plate articles, field 
sports, &c. Neither has anything been said of my 
name upon your title-page, a small item you will 
say but still something, as you know. Snowden pays 
his editresses $2 per week each for their names solely. 
Upon the whole, I am not willing to admit that you 
have greatly overpaid me. That I did not do four 
times as much as I did for the magazine was your own 
fault. At first I wrote long articles, which you 
deemed inadmissible, and never did I suggest any to 
which you had not some immediate and decided ob 
jection. Of course I grew discouraged, and could feel 
no interest in the journal. 

I am at a loss to know why you call me selfish. If 
you mean that I borrowed money of you you know 
that you offered it, and you know that I am poor. In 
what instance has any one ever found me selfish ? 
Was there selfishness in the affront I offered Benjamin 
(whom I respect, and who spoke well of me) because 
I deemed it a duty not to receive from any one com 
mendation at your expense ? . . . I have said that I 
could not tell why you were angry. Place yourself in 
my situation and see whether you would not have 
acted as I have done. You first " enforced," as you 
say, a deduction of salary : giving me to under 
stand thereby that you thought of parting company. 
You next spoke disrespectfully of me behind my back 
this as an habitual thing to those whom you sup 
posed your friends, and who punctually retailed me, 


as a matter of course, every ill-natured word which 
you uttered. Lastly, you advertised your magazine for 
sale without saying a word to me about it. I felt no 
anger at what you did none in the world. 

Had I not firmly believed it your design to give up 
your journal, with a view of attending to the Theatre, 
I should never have dreamed of attempting one of my 
own. The opportunity of doing something for my 
self seemed a good one (and I was about to be 
thrown out of business) and I embraced it. Now 
I ask you, as a man of honor and as a man of sense 
what is there wrong in all this ? What have I done 
at which you have any right to take offence ? I can 
give you no definitive answer (respecting the continu 
ation of Rodman s Journal) until I hear from you 
again. The charge of $100 I shall not admit for an 
instant. If you persist in it our intercourse is at an 
end, and we can each adopt our own measures. 

In the meantime, I am, 

Yr. Obt. St., 


In a previous chapter we have recounted from 
Graham s own lips the story of the origination of 
" Graham s Magazine," which was destined for the 
next ten years to exercise an almost preponderating in 
fluence on American letters. No one can look over 
the files of the magazine for these years without being 
struck with the wealth and distinction of remarkable 
names which embellish its pages and with the imme 
diate success which from February, 1841, began to 
attend Poe s critical and, finally, editorial responsibility 
for its contents. In his <( Chapter on Autography," 
Poe expressed himself thus of Mr. Graham : 


" Mr. Graham is known to the literary world as 
the editor and proprietor of Graham s Magazine 
the most popular periodical in America, and also of 
the Saturday Evening Post of Philadelphia. For 
both of these journals he has written much and well. 
His MS. generally is very bad, or at least very illeg 
ible. At times it is sufficiently distinct, and has 
force and picturesqueness, speaking plainly of the 
energy which particularly distinguishes him as a 

"Energy" indeed was Graham s characteristic, 
reinforced by exceptional good nature and a kindliness 
of feeling for his "young editor" which made him 
come out after Poe s death in an eloquent defence of 

Of Burton he goodnaturedly wrote in the same 
"Autography " : 

" Mr. Burton is better known as a comedian than 
as a literary man, but he has written many short prose 
articles of merit, and his quondam editorship of the 
Gentleman s Magazine would, at all events, entitle 
him to a place in this collection. He has, moreover, 
published one or two books. An annual issued by 
Carey and Hart in 1 840 consisted entirely of prose 
contributions from himself, with poetical ones from 
Charles West Thompson, Esq. In this work many 
of the tales were good. 

"The Penn Monthly" scheme went up in the 
usual smoke to which illness, indigence, and financial 
panic chronic in those times so often reduced the 
journalistic dreams of the poet. Its ambitious pros 
pectus Prospectus of "The Penn Magazine," a 
monthly literary journal, to be edited and published 
in the city of Philadelphia by Edgar A. Poe was 


all that ever appeared of it. It was a Poe journal 
that Poe craved ; a journal that would give free play 
to his own individuality such as he had not been 
allowed to show in the " Messenger ; " a journal that 
would deal out critical justice in a calm yet stern and 
fearless manner, guided by the purest rules of Art, im 
personal in its judgments, avoiding the "involute and 
anonymous cant of the Quarterlies * and the arrogance 
of the cliques and Mutual Admiration Societies ; ver 
satility, originality, pungency would enable it to 
please ; there should be " no tincture of the buffoon 
ery, scurrility, or profanity, which are the blemish of 
some of the most vigorous of the European prints." 

It was, however, perhaps just as well that Poe s 
time should not have been taken up at this moment 
with the harassing responsibilities of an independent 
journal ; otherwise he might never have made the 
striking record or produced the profound impression 
on contemporary literature which his contributions to 
"Graham s * up to 1842 began to show. To the 
last number of the "Gentleman s" before it be 
came "Graham s" he had contributed "The Man 
of the Crowd," a Hugoesque sketch filled with the 
power, the terrors, the shadows of unknown and un- 
conjecturable crime ; the cipher papers in Alexan 
der s "Weekly Messenger" had at this time created 
a great sensation, ninety-nine of the cryptographs 
(he says) sent in by his correspondents being solved 
by him ; and there were contributions (untraced as 
yet) to the " United States Military Magazine." 

In "Graham s Magazine" for July, 1841, he 
speaks in an entertaining way about his cryptographic 
studies and challenge : 

"In the discussion of an analogous subject, in one 


of the weekly papers [Alexander s " Weekly Messen 
ger"] of this city [Philadelphia], about eighteen 
months ago, the writer of this article had occasion to 
speak of the application of a vigorous method in all 
forms of thought, of its advantages, of its extension, of 
its use even to what is considered the operation of pure 
fancy and thus, subsequently, of the solution of 
cipher. He even ventured to assert that no cipher, of 
the character above specified, could be sent to the 
address of the paper which he would not be able to 
resolve. This challenge excited, most unexpectedly, 
a very lively interest among the numerous readers of 
the journal. Letters were poured in upon the editor 
from all parts of the country ; and many of the writers 
of these epistles were so convinced of the impenetra 
bility of their mysteries as to be at great pains to draw 
him into wagers on the subject. At the same time, 
they were not always scrupulous about sticking to the 
point. The cryptographs were, in numerous in 
stances, altogether beyond the limits defined in the 
beginning. Foreign languages were employed. Words 
and sentences were run together without interval. 
Several alphabets were used in the same cipher. One 
gentleman, but moderately endowed with conscien 
tiousness, inditing us a puzzle composed of pot-hooks 
and hangers to which the wildest typography of the 
office could afford nothing similar, went even so far as 
to jumble together no less than seven distinct alphabets 
without intervals between the letters or between the 
lines. Many of the cryptographs were dated in Phila 
delphia, and several of those which urged the subject 
of a bet were written by gentlemen of this city. Out 
of, perhaps, one thousand ciphers altogether received, 
there was only one which we did not immediately 


succeed in resolving. This was one we demonstrated 
to be an imposition that is to say, we fully proved 
it a jargon of random characters, having no meaning 
whatever. In respect to the epistle of the seven 
alphabets, we had the pleasure of completely non 
plussing its inditer by a prompt and satisfactory trans 

" The weekly paper mentioned was, for a period of 
some months, greatly occupied with the hieroglyphic 
and cabalistic-looking solutions of the cryptographs 
sent us from all quarters. Yet, with the exception of 
the writers of the ciphers, we do not believe that any 
individuals could have been found among the readers of 
the journal who regarded the matter in any other light 
than in that of a desperate humbug. One party 
averred that the mysterious figures were only inserted 
to give a queer air to the paper, for the purpose of 
attracting attention. Another thought it more prob 
able that we not only solved the ciphers, but put 
them together ourselves for solution. This having 
been the state of affairs at the period when it was 
thought expedient to decline further dealings in nec 
romancy, the writer of this article avails himself of 
the present opportunity to maintain the truth of the 
journal in question, to repel the charges of rigmarole 
by which it was assailed, and to declare, in his own 
name, that the ciphers were all written in good faith, 
and solved in the same spirit." (Article on " Cryp 
tography," " Graham s," July, 1841.) 

But up to his abrupt departure from Philadelphia 
for New York in the spring of 1844, Poe wrote 
almost as assiduously for Graham and ff Graham s" 
as he had written in 1834, 35, 36, and 37 for 
White and the "Messenger." Tales, poems, 


critiques flowed from his ever-facile pen, which 
copied also and reprinted we can see nothing "fla 
grant about the action some of his already printed 
poems. Poe rarely printed a poem without improv 
ing it ; but for this reprinting and embellishing process 
we should miss the final and exquisite forms of 
"Lenore," " To Helen," "The Raven" " Isra- 
fel," "The Bells," and a number of other beautiful 
things. What Poe reprinted was not old trumpery : 
it was the new and dainty coinage of a mind ruminat 
ing in its maturity over immature juvenilia and re 
touching them with a magician s wand. 

The overflow of Poe s genius, what did not ap 
pear in " Graham s " appeared in " The Saturday 
Evening Post" (owned by Graham), Snowden s 
"Lady s Companion," the "Saturday Museum," 
Lowell s "Pioneer," Miss Leslie s "Gift," "The 
Dollar Newspaper," " The United States Saturday 
Post" (anew form of the old "Saturday Post"), 
and Willis s " Opal," besides lectures delivered once 
in Baltimore and once in Philadelphia on " The 
Poets and Poetry of America." 

These fruitful years developed in Poe probably 
as a corollary from his cryptographic studies, in which 
his faculty of concentrated reasoning grew almost 
visibly the power of writing the ratiocinative tale, a 
genre in which he has never been excelled. An ex 
hibition of this power startled Charles Dickens when, 
in the "Saturday Evening Post" for May, 1841, 
he predicted the plot of " Barnaby Rudge " from 
data furnished by the book itself. Poe s power, 
hitherto, had been descriptive, mystic, emotional ; he 
had revelled in the senses and in sense-products 
rhythm, landscape, psychologic phenomena of a dim 


and terrible yet sensualistic character, borderlands 
betwixt life and death, flashes of the subliminal con 
sciousness whence well up mysterious telepathic com 
munications between the Seen and the Unseen, fateful 
and funereal scenes of ruin, desolation, and decay 
draped in the utmost pomp and magic of style. 

Now his mind developed a strange and lucid power 
of analytical reasoning, like a sixth sense suddenly 
superadded to a brain already abnormally developed. 
The absurd statement that the poet left West Point be 
cause he could not learn mathematics, or the technique 
of mathematics, would be refuted, if refutation it 
required, by the mathematically clear reasoning of 
" The Murders in the Rue Morgue," " The Mystery 
of Marie Roget," " The Purloined Letter," and 
"The Gold-Bug," belonging to this period. 

During the wonderfully productive period of his 
stay in Philadelphia, Poe wrote or published the fol 
lowing items : 

"Siope a Fable [Silence]," "Ligeia," "How to 
Write a Blackwood Article [The Signora Zenobia]," 
"A Predicament [The Scythe of Time]," "The 
Devil in the Belfry," " The Man that was Used 
Up," " The Fall of the House of Usher," "Wil 
liam Wilson," " The Conversation of Eiros and 
Charmion," "Mystification [Von Jung]," "Why 
the Little Frenchman Wears his Hand in a Sling," 
"The Business Man [Peter Pendulum]," "The 
Man of the Crowd," "The Murders in the Rue 
Morgue," "A Descent into the Maelstrom," "The 
Island of the Fay," " The Colloquy of Monos and 
Una," " Never Bet the Devil your Head," " Three 
Sundays in a Week [A Succession of Sundays]," 
" Eleonora," "The Oval Portrait [Life in Death]," 


"The Masque of the Red Death," "The Land 
scape Garden [part of " The Domain of Arn- 
heim"]," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," "The 
Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell-Tale Heart," 
"The Gold-Bug," "The Black Cat," "The Elk 
[Morning on the Wissahiccon]." 

This long list does not include literary hack-work like 
" The Conchologist s First Book," or " Arthur Gor 
don Pym " (in book form), " The Journal of Julius 
Rodman," (first unearthed by Mr. J. H. Ingram in 
Burton s) and the very numerous and brilliant critiques 
and poems in " The Gentleman s," "Graham s," 
" The Pioneer," and other periodicals ; nor " A 
Tale of the Ragged Mountains," "The Spectacles," 
" Diddling Considered as one of the Exact Sciences," 
"The Balloon-Hoax," "Mesmeric Revelation," 
"The Premature Burial," "The Oblong Box," 
"Thou art the Man," and the " Literary Life of 
Thingum-Bob " : all of which were probably com 
posed in Philadelphia but came out in 1844, after 
Poe left the town. 

There are here enumerated thirty-six pieces, all 
highly original, six or eight standing among the most 
celebrated of Poe s masterpieces. Ordinary brains 
impelled to this extent must needs have felt the "fag" 
which follows inevitably upon overworked mental pro 
cesses ; "his daring critiques, his analytic essays, and 
his weird stories, following one another in quick suc 
cession, startled the public and compelled it to an ac 
knowledgment of his powers;" but Poe at least for 
a time seemed to possess a mind bathed in perpetual 
vigor and rejuvenation. With admirable good humor 
he worked through the quires of puzzles, ciphers, 
enigmas and cryptographs that poured down upon him 


after his famous challenge; for fifteen or eighteen 
months he reigned as the absolute sovereign of " Gra 
ham s," dispensing critical justice to Longfellow, 
Hawthorne, Dickens, Bulwer, Bolingbroke, " The 
guacks of Helicon," " L. E. L.," the Davidson Sis 
ters, Campbell s "Petrarch," "The Vicar of Wake- 
field," Heber, Walpole, Christopher North, Brainard, 
Lever, Brougham, Howitt, and others ; and his cre 
ative powers as a storyteller revelled in the long list of 
works we have enumerated. 

He made three contributions to Lowell s " Pioneer," 
a Boston monthly, which unsuccessfully aspired to 
the calm, courageous place dreamed of by Poe. It 
was unsuccessful in that it lived through only three 

Lowell, like Poe, was thus pursued by the vision of 
an impossible magazine which should altruistically 
at $3 per annum substitute for the " namby-pamby 
love-tales and sketches poured forth " on the long- 
suffering public, a "healthy and manly Periodical Lit 
erature," such as it could digest. 

But the well-deserving enterprise failed, and Lowell 
was to reserve his strength for the "Atlantic Monthly," 
some fourteen years later. 

Nothing in Poe s career is more creditable to him 
than his letters to and his true courtesy toward 
Lowell on the falling through of the unfortunate un 
dertaking, creditable alike to head and heart and purse, 
when we know how sorely pressed Poe was at this 
time and at all times for his daily bread. When 
Lowell, overwhelmed with debt and suffering from 
ophthalmia, gave up "The Pioneer," Poe wrote, 
March 27, 1843 : 


" MY DEAR FRIEND, I have just received yours of 
the 24th and am deeply grieved that you should have 
been so unfortunate, and, secondly, that you should 
have thought it necessary to offer me any apology for 
your misfortunes. As for the few dollars you owe me 
[it was $30 or $40] give yourself not one moment s 
concern about them. I am poor, but must be very 
much poorer, indeed, when I even think of demand 
ing them. 

" But I sincerely hope all is not so bad as you suppose 
it, and that, when you come back to look about you, 
you will be able to continue The Pioneer. Its 
decease, just now, would be a most severe blow to the 
good cause the cause of Pure Taste. I have looked 
upon your magazine, from its outset, as the best in 
America, and have lost no opportunity of expressing 
the opinion." l 

In April he ceased to be editor of " Graham s." 
Why he resigned is not circumstantially known, 
but the following quotation from Gill (pp. 109, 110) 
is suggestive : 

" Speaking of the severing of Poe s connection 
with Graham s Magazine, Dr. Griswold writes, 
The infirmities which induced his separation from 
Mr. White and Mr. Burton at length compelled Mr. 
Graham to find another editor ; and also in the same 
connection, It is known that the personal ill-will on 
both sides was such that for some four or five years not 

1 Dr. E. E. Male s "James Russell Lowell and his Friends," 
1898, contains an interesting account of " The Pioneer," as does 
also Vol. 5 of the " New England Magazine " (new series). 


a line by Poe was purchased for Graham s Maga 
zine. The italics are Dr. Griswold s. . . . 

"Mr. Graham, from whom the magazine was named, 
is now [1878] living, and when we last saw him, 
December, 1873, ne was m excellent health. We 
were then, of course, intent upon securing data in 
regard to the life of Poe ; and in a conversation with 
Mr. Graham, some peculiarly significant facts touching 
Griswold s veracity in particular were elicited. 

" Mr. Graham states that Poe never quarrelled with 
him; never was discharged from Graham s Maga 
zine ; and that during the four or five years itali 
cized by Dr. Griswold as indicating the personal ill-will 
between Mr. Poe and Mr. Graham, over fifty articles 
by Poe were accepted by Mr. Graham. 

" The facts of Mr. Poe s secession from Graham s 
were as follows : 

" Mr. Poe was, from illness or other causes, absent 
for a short time from his post on the magazine. Mr. 
Graham had, meanwhile, made a temporary arrange 
ment with Dr. Griswold to act as Poe s substi 
tute until his return. Poe came back unexpectedly, 
and, seeing Griswold in his chair, turned on his 
heel without a word, and left the office, nor could he 
be persuaded to enter it again, although, as stated, he 
sent frequent contributions thereafter to the pages of 
the magazine." 

Griswold himself, according to Gill (p. 112), was 
shortly afterwards dismissed by Mr. Graham from the 
editorship of the magazine for writing a scurrilous 
anonymous attack on Mr. Charles J. Peterson, a gen 
tleman prominently connected with many American 
magazines, who was associated with Griswold in the 
same office, apparently on the friendliest terms. 
VOL. i. 12 


Though out of immediate editorial work, Poe con- 
tinued to write with fiercest energy, and naturally re 
curred to his hope of establishing an independent" Poe" 
magazine. The following unpublished letter, kindly 
copied by Dr. B. W. Green for us from a MS. in the 
State Library, Richmond, is one of many explaining 
the projected enterprise : 

PHILADELPHIA, March 24, 1843. 

MY DEAR SIR, With this letter I mail to your ad 
dress a number of the " Philadelphia Saturday Museum/ 
containing a Prospectus of "The Stylus," a Magazine 
which I design to commence on the first of July next, in 
connection with Mr. Thomas C. Clarke of this city. 

My object in addressing you is to ascertain if the list of 
"The South : Lit : Messenger " is to be disposed of, and, 
if so, upon what terms. We are anxious to purchase the 
list and unite it with that of "The Stylus," provided a 
suitable arrangement could be made. I should be happy 
to hear from you on the subject. 

I hear of you occasionally, and most sincerely hope 
that you are doing well. Mrs. Clemm & Virginia desire to 
be remembered to all our old acquaintances. Believe me, 
Yours truly, 


Poe was never famous for his tact, and it is doubt 
ful whether a review announced with such a battailous 
flourish of trumpets so denunciatory in its character, 
especially of the "dull" and "dishonest" Quarter 
lies so fierce, stern, uncompromising, and ideal in 
its aims as the new-born " Stylus " was to be could 

1 This Mr. Bernard was the husband of one of Mr. T. W. White s 
daughters, the brother-in-law of the "Eliza" to whom Poe ad 
dressed a poem. He was a prominent printer, publisher, and 
author connected with " The Messenger." 


ever have succeeded with Poe as manager. It did 
succeed admirably, afterwards, in the seventies as 
"The New York Nation," but a wider, wiser, and 
more enlightened public opinion had taken the place of 
the acrimonious cliques and silly little " corners in lit 
erature " that then disfigured Boston, Philadelphia, 
New York, and Richmond. 

At the same time, feeling more or less keenly the des- 
perateness of his situation, he fell into eager correspon 
dence with his friend F. W. Thomas, a Baltimorean 
of literary proclivities who was an office-holder at 
Washington under President Tyler, as to the possibility 
of procuring some small government place as a support 
for Virginia, Mrs. Clemm, and himself. Thomas was an 
amiable man, deeply interested in his friend s welfare ; 
but his efforts to secure Poe even the humblest place, 
though his early friend Kennedy was then a high-placed 
official in Washington, were unavailing. Burns got 
into the excise, Lamb into the India House, Haw 
thorne into a consulship, but official patronage was not 
for Poe. The unfortunate man journeyed to the cap 
ital nevertheless and returned in terrible plight, men 
tally and physically unbalanced. His " Imp of the 
Perverse," so graphically pictured in "The Black 
Cat," had made him present himself in Washington in 
the most unfavorable light and shatter such opportuni 
ties or outlook as there may have been for him by an 
access of wild conduct. 

What was really the matter with Poe during a part 
of this tragic period may be gathered from a heart 
rending letter dated six years after the occurrence. 1 

" In this letter to an old and esteemed correspond 
ent, dated January 4, i 848, Poe thus unbosoms him- 

1 Ingram, I., p. 215. 


self of his secret a secret as gruesome as any told in 
the most terrible of his tales : 

" You say, Can you bint to me what was the 
"terrible evil" which caused the "irregularities," so 
profoundly lamented ? Yes, I can do more than 
hint. This " evil " was the greatest that can befall a 
man. Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no 
man ever loved before, ruptured a blood-vessel in sing 
ing. Her life was despaired of. I took leave of her 
forever, and underwent all the agonies of her death. 
She recovered partially, and I again hoped. At the 
end of a year, the vessel broke again. I went through 
precisely the same scene. . . . Then again again 
and even once again, at varying intervals. Each 
time I felt all the agonies of her death and at each 
accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly and 
clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But 
I am constitutionally sensitive nervous in a very un 
usual degree. I became insane, with long intervals of 
horrible sanity. During these fits of absolute uncon 
sciousness, I drank God only knows how often or 
how much. As a matter of course, my enemies 
referred the insanity to the drink, rather than the drink 
to the insanity. I had, indeed, nearly abandoned all 
hope of a permanent cure, when I found one in the 
deatb of my wife. This I can and do endure [Vir 
ginia died January 30, 1847] as becomes a man. It 
was the horrible, never-ending oscillation between 
hope and despair which I could not longer have en 
dured, without total loss of reason. In the death of 
what was my life, then, I received a new but 
Oh God ! how melancholy an existence. 

This, then, was the worm that gnawed relentlessly 
atPoe s heart for six years, and well-nigh drove him 


mad did madden him, if we read between the lines 
of this letter. As a writer in "Scribner s Monthly," 
reviewing Gill s "Life of Poe," puts it: 

"It is now well ascertained that Poe s intoxication 
was a thing caused by even the smallest quantity of 
wine, and took the form of terrible despondency or 
of strange and highly intellectual but deranged orations 
on abstruse subjects, and that he was a kind husband, 
gentle-mannered in his associations with many persons, 
and exceedingly industrious about his writing. Still, 
that he was subject to intoxication, and was at times 
intensely irritable, are facts sufficiently attested. The 
excessive susceptibility to liquor is to be charged prob 
ably to his father, who was a drinker ; and Poe s de 
scent from an old line of Italian nobles who went to 
Normandy and thence to Ireland, mixing their peculiar 
traits with the ardor, the simplicity, the powerful 
affections of the Irish character, may account for his 
keen sensitiveness, as well as for some of his metrical 
predilections. When we reflect that, in addition, he 
was bred in our high-tempered South, we have an 
other factor in the difficult problem of his life." 

The critic then goes on to show that the other 
writers of note of the time or a little later had ex 
traneous help in their literary struggles : Longfellow 
and Lowell became professors ; Irving and Prescott, 
Motley and Bancroft, Bayard Taylor and G. P. 
Marsh rose to be ministers plenipotentiary ; Bryant 
and Whittier were successful journalists ; Hawthorne 
was snugly ensconced in government positions at 
Salem and Liverpool ; and Holmes practised medicine. 
" But Poe had not the business talents requisite to gain 
even their transient and harassed ascendency. It is 
not difficult for any one who knows the literary life, to 


conceive how great was the strain, therefore, to which 
Poe was subjected. With his delicate and emotional 
organization it would hardly have been wonderful had 
he sunk into the depths where Griswold s unsympa 
thetic report placed him. All things considered, 
then, it must be admitted that he made a brave fight, 
but was overborne by a legacy of drink, by an over 
weight of genius naturally morbid, and by the asperity 
of circumstances." 

Poe himself wrote passionately to Mrs. Whitman : 
"I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in 
which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been 
in the pursuit of pleasure that I have perilled life and 
reputation and reason. It has been in the desperate 
attempt to escape from torturing memories." 

In "Graham s Magazine" for March, 1850, Mr. 
Graham himself wrote of him at this period : 

" I shall never forget how solicitous of the happi 
ness of his wife and mother-in-law he was, whilst 
one of the editors of Graham s Magazine ; his 
whole efforts seemed to be to procure the comfort and 
welfare of his home. Except for their happiness, and 
the natural ambition of having a magazine of his own, 
I never heard him deplore the want of wealth. The 
truth is, he cared little for money, and knew less of 
its value, for he seemed to have no personal expenses. 
What he received from me in regular monthly instal 
ments went directly into the hands of his mother-in- 
law for family comforts ; and twice only I remember 
his purchasing some rather expensive luxuries for his 
house, and then he was nervous to the degree of 
misery until he had, by extra articles, covered what 
he considered an imprudent indebtedness. His love 
for his wife was a sort of rapturous worship of the 


spirit of beauty, which he felt was fading before his 
eyes. I have seen him hovering around her when 
she was ill, with all the fond fear and tender anxiety 
of a mother for her first-born her slightest cough 
causing in him a shudder, a breast chill, that was 
visible. I rode out one summer evening with them, 
and the remembrance of his watchful eyes, eagerly 
bent upon the slightest change of hue in that loved 
face, haunts me yet as the memory of a sad strain. 
It was this hourly anticipation of her loss that made 
him a sad and thoughtful man, and lent a mournful 
melody to his undying song." 

The worship of Woman indeed das ewig Weib- 
licbe was an absorbing feature of the domestic as 
well as of the literary life of Edgar Poe. Women are 
the most eager and impassioned defenders of his be 
draggled memory ; women were the idols and the 
guardian angels of his household ; women are the 
themes of his most exquisite poems ; women have 
erected, in Baltimore, the most costly monument to 
his memory. No writer has described, analyzed, 
viewed Poe more sympathetically, with deeper insight, 
than Mrs. Whitman, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Weiss, 
"Stella," Mrs. Shelton, or Mrs. Shew, four of 
them at least women of genius capable of describing 
and analyzing what they saw. 

In the " Poetic Principle," after quoting Byron s 

" Though the day of my destiny s o er," 

Poe adds : " No nobler theme ever engaged the pen 
of poet. It is the soul-elevating idea, that no man 
can consider himself entitled to complain of Fate 
while, in his adversity, he still retains the unwavering 
love of woman." And later, in the same lecture, he 
continues : 


" He feels it [true Poetry ] in the beauty of woman, 
in the grace of her step, in the lustre of her eye, in 
the melody of her voice, in her soft laughter, in her 
sigh, in the harmony of the rustling of her robes. He 
deeply feels it in her winning endearments, in her 
burning enthusiasms, in her gentle charities, in her 
meek and devotional endurances ; but above all ah! 
far above all he kneels to it, he worships it in the 
faith, in the purity, in the strength, in the altogether 
divine majesty of her love." 

It is this love which Mrs. Frances S. Osgood so 
beautifully depicts in the following words : - 1 

"I believe she [Virginia] was the only woman 
whom he ever truly loved ; and this is evidenced by 
the exquisite pathos of the little poem, lately written, 
called Annabel Lee, of which she was the subject, 
and which is by far the most natural, simple, tender, 
and touchingly beautiful of all his songs. I have 
heard it said that it was intended to illustrate a late 
love affair of the author ; but they who believe this 
have, in their dulness, evidently misunderstood or 
missed the beautiful meaning latent in the most lovely 
of all its verses, where he says : 

" A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 

My beautiful Annabel Lee, 
So that her highborn kinsmen came 
And bore her away from me. 

" There seems a strange and almost profane disre 
gard of the sacred purity and spiritual tenderness of 
this delicious ballad, in thus overlooking the allusion to 
the kindred angels and the heavenly Father of the lost 
and loved and unforgotten wife." 

And surely no loveless son-in-law could ever have 

1 See Vol. II. 


addressed to his mother-in-law such a sonnet as Poe 
addressed to Mrs. Clemm his <( more than mother " 
who was 

" dearer than the mother I knew 
By that infinity with which my wife 
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life." 

Poets do not usually celebrate their mothers-in-law 
in strains like these. 

" It was during their stay there " [in Spring Garden, 
Philadelphia], relates Mr. A. B. Harris in "Hearth 
and Home," i 870, " that Mrs. Poe, while singing one 
evening, ruptured a blood-vessel, and after that she 
suffered a hundred deaths. She could not bear the 
slightest exposure, and needed the utmost care ; and 
all those conveniences as to apartment and surround 
ings which are so important in the case of an invalid 
were almost matters of life and death to her. And 
yet the room where she lay for weeks, hardly able to 
breathe, except as she was fanned, was a little place 
with the ceiling so low over the narrow bed that her 
head almost touched it. But no one dared to speak, 
Mr. Poe was so sensitive and irritable ; quick as steel 
and flint, said one who knew him in those days. 
And he would not allow a word about the danger of 
her dying ; the mention of it drove him wild." 

And yet, wrung in heart and soul as he was during 
these melancholy Philadelphia years (1842-44), he 
continued to pour forth a rich volume of work in 
" The Mystery of Marie Roget," " The Purloined 
Letter," "The Gold-Bug," The Oblong Box," 
< The Pit and the Pendulum," and many reviews of 
Home, Charming, Halleck, Cooper, Gris wold s 
"Poets," etc., the poem "Dreamland," "The 
Balloon- Hoax/ etc., etc. 


In 1843 an attempted edition in parts, of "The 
Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe " fell through, only 
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The 
Man that was Used Up," appearing in paper covers. 

Poe s Parthian dart his fatal offence before 
leaving Philadelphia, was flung at Griswold in the shape 
of a lecture on (t The Poets and Poetry of America," 
delivered in November, 1843: a caustic excoriation 
of the compiler who yet had done much admirable 
work in his self-imposed function of Old Mortality to 
the unknown. 

In April, 1844, Poe found himself again in New 
York whither he seemed inevitably to drift. The 
seven years from 1837, when he gave up the editor 
ship of the " Southern Literary Messenger," to April, 
1844, during which he had successfully edited and 
abandoned Burton s lt Gentleman s Magazine" and 
" Graham s," had been the most fruitful of his career. 
This period was the high-water mark period of the 
publication of the (f Tales of the Grotesque and Ara 
besque," and of the editorship of the chief literary 
journal of the country : a period of many friendships 
and many enmities, of constant struggle, of varied and 
continuous authorship, of rapid and remarkable intel 
lectual advance. The health of the family had suffered 
terribly in Philadelphia ; Virginia had entered on the 
course of lingering illness which was to terminate 
fatally in 1847 when she was hardly more than a 
girl ; and Poe, unstrung by her alarming hemorrhages, 
by over- work, and by semi-starvation, gave up to the 
fearful temptation which assaulted him at times with 
irresistible force and made him seek oblivion in drugs 
and drink. Philadelphia had become a disenchanted 
place : the family moved to New York. 





CONSCIENCE is an awkward ingredient to mingle 
with things. The conscientious man is always a ter 
ror to the community. Let it be known that a man 
has a conscience, that he means to exercise it, that 
neither fear nor favor will intimidate him from his 
sense of duty to himself and to that community : and 
instantly such a man becomes a bugbear, a scarecrow, 
an offence, and a scourge to the evil-doer and the un- 

When he settled in New York, for the second time, 
in April, 1 844, Poe had become this incarnation of 
the literary conscience of the time. From the moment 
he had reviewed " Norman Leslie " in the " South 
ern Literary Messenger and pricked the spangled 
bubbles that then danced before the public eye, down 
to the date of his departure from Philadelphia, the crit 
ical instinct the literary conscience had been 
growing in him with vast strides. (f I have sometimes 
amused myself," he says in (S Marginalia," "by en 
deavoring to fancy what would be the fate of an in 
dividual gifted, or rather accursed with an intellect 
very far superior to that of his race. Of course he 
would be conscious of his own superiority ; nor could 
he (if otherwise constituted as man is) help manifest- 


ing his consciousness. Thus he would make himself 
enemies at all points. And since his opinions and 
speculations would widely differ from those of all man 
kind that he would be considered a madman, is 
evident. How horribly painful such a condition ! 
Hell could invent no greater torture than that of a 
being charged with abnormal weakness on account of 
being abnormally strong. 

In his many letters and prospectuses touching upon 
this subject, Poe had continually referred to the need 
of a free, independent, and fearless school of criticism 
in this country. What, in his " Marginalia," he 
describes as the "disgusting spectacle of our subservi 
ency to British criticism," was no less painful to him 
than the indiscriminate laudation of every American 
poetaster by the native, one might call it the domestic , 
press of the period. 

" We know the British to bear us little but ill-will ; 
we know that, in no case, do they utter unbiassed 
opinions of American books ; we know that in the few 
instances in which our writers have been treated with 
common decency in England, these writers have either 
openly paid homage to English institutions, or have 
had lurking at the bottom of their hearts a secret prin 
ciple at war with Democracy : we know all this, 
and yet, day after day, submit our necks to the de 
grading yoke of the crudest opinion that emanates from 
the fatherland. Now if we must have nationality, 
let it be a nationality that will throw off this yoke." 

Year by year the accumulating wrath of his literary 
conscience, his sense of self-respect and national inde 
pendence, had gone on growing until it became a lake 
of fire, and finally broken forth volcanically in "The 
Literati " and the group of studies on " The Minor 


Contemporaries" extending from 1839, with " George 
P. Morris," to 1845, with "Elizabeth Oakes 

Not that the "lake of fire" did not illuminate as 
well as flame, scorch, and burn : much of this criti 
cism is optimistic and sweet-tempered, but into it 
entered one element of discrimination, of art, of sound 
literary feeling and sense of proportion that was not to 
be found in contemporary criticism before. Poe from 
the start was an analyst of admirable powers : he never 
wrote from mere "instinct" or intuition, and he was 
as far from the rhapsodic, ignorant, and egotistical 
Wilson in temperament as he was distant from him, 
geographically, in space. If he wrote a fine or a noble 
poem, he was ready instantly with a (f Rationale of 
Verse " or a " Philosophy of Composition " to explain 
it ; and what one reads, in him, with such exquisite 
ease, grace and melody, was based upon profound know 
ledge and subtle analytical reasoning. The "trick" 
of Poe is easily caught, but it was not easily originated : 
he was the sovereign of lyrical form in America in his 
day, and his sovereignty was based upon supreme 
rhythmical feeling backed by completest poetic know 

Being, like his supposititious critic, "gifted, or rather 
accursed, with an intellect very far superior to that of 
his race," conscious of this superiority and unable to 
control the consciousness, with opinions and specula 
tions widely different from those of all mankind, he 
easily made himself enemies and was hooted at as a 
madman, as abnormally weak, because he was so ab 
normally, so unintelligibly, strong. Heine was hooted 
at in almost the same terms and for almost the same 
reasons : the man of " accursed conscience " in liter- 


ary matters who could not and would not endure the 
literary sloven. 

Apropos of Foe s pungency in criticism, it will be 
well to quote here a letter from the famous Dr. Thomas 
Holley Chivers who, on receiving one of Poe s pro 
spectuses, wrote in 1 840 as follows : 

No. 47, CANAL STREET, N.Y., 
August 27th, 1840. 

DEAR SIR, I received your letter this evening, 
containing a Prospectus of the " Penn Magazine," 
which you intend publishing in the City of Philadel 
phia. My absence from the City, among the emerald 
highlands of the beautiful Hudson, prevented my 
answering it sooner than to-day. In answer to your 
solicitation for my support for the forthcoming Journal, 
I must say that I am much pleased with your "Pro 
spectus " the plan which you have in view and 
hope sincerely that you may realize all your antici 
pations. As it regards myself, I will support you as 
long as you may continue the Editor of the above- 
named work. In the Paradise of Literature, I do not 
know one better calculated than yourself to prune the 
young scions of their exuberant thoughts. In some 
instances, let me remark, you seemed to me to lay aside 
the pruning-knife for the tomahawk, and not only to 
lop off the redundant limbs, but absolutely to eradicate 
the entire tree. In such cases there is no hope of its 
afterwards bearing any fruit. In surgical operations we 
always use a sharp knife, and wish to be as expeditious 
as possible ; but we never go so far as to cut away so 
much of a part as to endanger the vitality of the whole. 
If we find, as in cases of gangrene, that the vital part 
is so affected that an operation would be unsafe, we 


then choose to let the patient die a natural death, 
rather than hasten it by our surgical art. I have seen 
a little sapling transplanted before now, which had 
every appearance of dying until it had undergone a 
gentle pruning and watering, when, to the astonish 
ment of the gardener, it towered above all the rest in 
the grove, and remained a living monument of his skill 
and kind attention. The same thing is true in regard 
to the literary world. Bad treatment to the human 
economy will make a chronic disease sooner than a 
functional one, [and] by its own process, will termi 
nate in organic derangement. 1 

Poe s mistake was in using the giant spear and the 
mighty girdle of Brunhilda in crushing infinitesimal 
foes : in rushing upon Dawes and Fay and " Flaccus " 
and Headley, upon Channing, English, and Clark 
with the fury of a whirlwind when a zephyr would 
have sufficed. The " Dunciad " and "English 
Bards" were blown full of futile breath in the same 
way : flies that would have perished of their own 
inanity now embalmed in indestructible amber. To 
use a homely image, it will not do for the barber that 
shaves us to sever our jugular vein ! As a physician, 
Dr. Chivers understood well the application of his sur 
gical metaphor, and it would have been well for Poe 
if he had taken the letter to heart. 

Up to the present date Poe had been going through 
the first of the two cycles of psychological prepara 
tion which he attributed to the Germany of his day : 
the " impulsive" and the "critical" stages. 

"Germans have not yet passed this first epoch" 

1 Passages from the Correspondence of R. W. Griswold. By 
W. M. Griswold, Cambridge, 1898. 


[" the impulsive epoch of literary civilization M ] . " It 
must be remembered that during the whole of the 
middle ages they ]*ved in utter ignorance of the art of 
writing. From so total a darkness, of so late a date, 
they could not, as a nation, have as yet fully emerged 
into the second or critical epoch. Individual Germans 
have been critical in the best sense ; but the masses are 
unleavened. Literary Germany thus presents the sin 
gular spectacle of the impulsive spirit surrounded by 
the critical, and, of course, in some measure influenced 
thereby. . . . For my own part, I admit the German 
vigor, the German directness, boldness, imagination, 
and some other qualities of impulse, just as I am willing 
to admit and admire these qualities in the first (or 
impulsive) epochs of British and French letters. 
At the German criticism, however, I cannot refrain 
from laughing all the more heartily, all the more se 
riously I hear it praised. Not that, in detail, it affects 
me as an absurdity but in the adaptation of its details. 
It abounds in brilliant bubbles of suggestion, but these 
rise and sink and jostle each other, until the whole vor 
tex of thought in which they originate is one indis 
tinguishable chaos of froth." 

This statement is simply tantamount to saying that 
Poe had ripened, that the richness and luxuriance of 
his youth had mellowed down into clear vigor and 
manly strength, that this youth was fading into a mel 
lowed manhood in which the full plenitude of his 
powers was developing along intellectual lines. Nearly 
all his early work up at least to 1839, when he 
was thirty years old seems to have come in jets, in 
instantaneous inspirations, in impulsive spurts, geyser- 
like in splendor and abundance but bearing all the 
birthmarks of his theory of the short story, the short 


poem that they must be read at a sitting. When 
he worked at all he worked with a kind of frenzy, a 
blind fury, that pursued him day and night until 
he had rid himself of it by writing it off. In 
colder moments, he returned to the polishing process, 
using his delicate emery wheel, his diamond dust, dili 
gently to erase the angles and roughnesses of the earlier 
sketches or poems ; substituting critical for impulsive 
moods, and turning the cold light of reason upon the 
imaginative landscapes and emotional tropics which his 
exuberant youth had evoked. 

With the 1840 edition of "The Tales of the 
Grotesque and the Arabesque," Poe had virtually 
crossed the equatorial line of youth and entered the 
new territory of deductive reasoning and perfection 
in rhythmical form. Nothing henceforth passed his 
pen that did not possess perfection of one kind or 
another : his prose style simplifies and clarifies to 
complete lucidity ; his poems take on changing 
lights and lustres that they never had before ; his 
critical sense awakens to a keenness and alertness 
that did not scruple to analyze Tennyson, Dickens, 
Macaulay, Miss Barrett, Longfellow, Lowell, Emer 
son, and show their defects as well as their excel 
lences : in short, Poe was ripe ; whatever was to 
come from him henceforth, in the new cycle of exist 
ence on which he had entered, was to show this ripe 

Poe signalized his arrival in New York in April, 
1844, ^7 a characteristic bit of fun : the " Balloon- 
Hoax," published in the New York "Sun" for 
April i 3 . 

"About twelve years ago, I think," he remarks 
in his critique on Richard Adams Locke, "the New 
VOL. i. 13 


York Sun, a daily paper, price one penny, was 
established in the city of New York by Mr. Moses Y. 
Beach, who engaged Mr. Richard Adams Locke as its 
editor. In a well- written prospectus, the object of 
the journal professed to be that of supplying the public 
with the news of the day at so cheap a rate as to lie 
within the means of all. The consequences of the 
scheme, in their influence on the whole newspaper 
business of the country, and through this business on 
the interests of the country at large, are probably be 
yond all calculation. 

"... The Sun was revolving in a compara 
tively narrow orbit when one fine day, there 
appeared in its editorial columns a prefatory article 
announcing very remarkable astronomical discov 
eries at the Cape of Good Hope by Sir John 
Herschel. The information was said to have been 
received by the Sun from an early copy of the 
* Edinburgh Journal of Science, in which appeared a 
communication from Sir John himself. This prepara 
tory announcement took very well (there had been no 
hoaxes in those days), and was followed by full de 
tails of the reputed discoveries, which were now found 
to have been made chiefly in respect to the moon, 
and by means of a telescope to which the one lately 
constructed by the Earl of Rosse is a plaything. As 
these discoveries were gradually spread before the pub 
lic, the astonishment of that public grew out of all 
bounds ; but those who questioned the veracity of the 
Sun the authenticity of the communication to the 
Edinburgh Journal of Science were really very 
few indeed ; and this I am forced to look upon as a 
far more wonderful thing than any man-bat of 
them all." 


ting from the pen of Locke about three weeks after 
the publication of Poe s " Hans Pfaall s Journey to 
the Moon," in the " Southern Literary Messenger " 
for June, 1835. 

"From the epoch of the hoax, the <Sun, " con 
tinues Poe, " shone with unmitigated splendor. The 
start thus given the paper insured it a triumph ; it has 
now a daily circulation of not far from 50,000 copies, 
and is, therefore, probably the most really influential 
journal of its kind in the world. Its success firmly 
established the penny system throughout the coun 
try, and (through the Sun ) consequently, we are 
indebted to the genius of Mr. Locke for one of the 
most important steps ever yet taken in the pathway of 
human progress." 

It was in this " Sun," already famous for its astro 
nomical hoax, that Poe appeared one morning (fit 
tingly on April i ) , in large capitals, bearing 

"Astounding News by Express, via Norfolk ! The 
Atlantic crossed in Three Days ! ! Signal Triumph 
of Mr. Monck Mason s Flying Machine ! ! ! 

" Arrival at Sullivan * Island, near Charleston, 
S. C., of Mr. Mason, Mr. Robert Holland, Mr. Hen- 
son, Mr. Harrison Ainsworth, and four others, in the 
Steering Balloon, Victoria, after a passage of seventy- 
five hours from Land to Land ! Full Particulars of 
the Voyage ! " 

" The Balloon-Hoax " produced a prodigious sen 
sation, and once more Poe rode, Triton-like, on the 
crest of a wave of popularity, blowing his horn and 
scattering the spray of his laughter in the faces of the 


gullible. This lifelong love of hoaxing was, in Poc, 
curiously intertwined with a continual mystical hanker 
ing after the incredible, after the dim borderlands be 
tween conscious and subconscious life, after such a 
literary utilization of science as might half persuade him 
self and others of things undreamt of in the crude 
physical philosophies of the day. His tales of pseudo- 
science were just " pseudo," just false, and just true 
enough to confuse and becloud the half-educated mob 
of the " forties," and make them take delight in such 
transcendental physics and metaphysics as Poe, ex 
pressing them in his supremely convincing and strenu 
ous style, could conjure up at will. Poe might talk 
the most absolute scientific nonsense, as doubtless 
he often did, but he did it in such forceful and capti 
vating style that none but trained scientists could dis 
sent or protest. How few read " The Power of 
Words" or " Eiros and Charmion," beautiful and 
imaginative as these pieces are, with any feeling of the 
absolute baselessness of the physical theories on which 
they rest, lost in admiration of the fantastic energy 
and pictorial quality of the entirely new language in 
which all their impossibilities are arrayed. 

And this breaks the way into a suggestive line of 
speculation for us, to wit : in these " Tales of Psuedo- 
Science," "Hans Pfaall," "MS. Found in a Bottle," 
"Descent into the Maelstrom," "The Thousand- 
and-Second-Tale of Scheherazade," "Some Words 
with a Mummy," "Mesmeric Revelation," "The 
Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," "Power of 
Words," " Eiros and Charmion " even in " Eu 
reka " may not Poe be indulging, as he undoubtedly 
and confessedly was in "Hans Pfaall" and "The 
Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," in a kind of 


subtle, subterranean banter, using his physical and 
scientific knowledge just plausibly enough to bewilder 
the psuedo-scientific reader and extort from him cries 
of delight over what probably Poe himself knew, and 
the twentieth century physicist adjudges to be, the 
wildest extravaganza? "The fairytale of science" 
in the hands of a great verbal artist like Poe could be 
made a wonderfully prolific source of pleasure to 
readers who could simply admire and not follow his 
semi-mystic excursions into the scientific realm. To 
them every hour of Hans Pfaall s lunar journey would 
be a rapturous panorama of unfolding facts, every 
whirl in the Maelstrom descent would be a shuddering 
possibility, every toss of the phantom ship on the 
ghostly foam of the " MS. Found in a Bottle/ hurry 
ing to destruction yet never destroyed, would be re 
alizable in imaginative experience. 

And the more one recognizes the fact that Poe was 
a recondite and most exquisite humorist that he con 
tinually preyed with almost morbid pertinacity upon 
the gullibility of human nature, "accursed " as he 
was with "the gift of intellect superior to his race " 
the more one is inclined to believe that his use of 
science was not intentionally ignorant or unconsciously 
false, but that it was another and subtler method of 
capturing other and subtler intellects to his spells, as 
he captured many physicians with his " mesmeric 
revelations," and found "a grave professor of mathe 
matics in a Virginian college " ready to believe the 
" Moon Hoax " of Locke. The delicious rigmarole^ 
the refined Miinchausenism, of his scientific romances, 
show an unparalleled fertility of talent in the line of 
artistic deception, just as " The Murders in the Rue 
Morgue was so plausibly written that it deceived 


the French critics and was looked upon as a true nar 
rative. "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym" 
was republished in London as an actual voyage of 

Hoaxing is thus seen to be an ingrained element of 
Foe s intellectual make-up, and he has, in our opinion, 
carried it to a far greater distance and into far more 
mysterious realms than his students and biographers 
have hitherto noticed. 

Poe s places of residence in New York prior to his 
final removal to Fordham cottage (now the property 
of the New York Shakspere Society), in 1846, were 
numerous and varied. A writer in " The Ledger 
Monthly" for December, 1900, speaks of them as 
follows : 

" Edgar Allan Poe once dwelt with his ailing wife 
on the upper floor of a small brick house at 195 East 
Broadway, now replaced by the building of the Edu 
cational Alliance, and other neighboring places have 
piquant associations with this gifted man. Temple 
Court, in Beekman Street, covers the site of an office 
of his short-lived Broadway Journal ; at the cor 
ner of Ann and Nassau streets he was employed by 
Willis upon the Evening Mirror, and in Green 
wich Street, near to Rector, there stands in the shadow 
of the elevated railway a shabby structure that was his 
abode when he wrote f The Balloon-Hoax and the 
curious poem of Dreamland. 

" Going farther afield one finds on the west side of 
Carmine Street above Varick the site of the modest 
frame house in which Poe lived when he gave the 
finishing touches to the Narrative of Arthur Gordon 
Pym, and had Gowans, the bookseller, for a fellow- 


lodger ; later, with Gowans, he had brief occupancy 
of one of the floors, now darkened by passing trains, 
of a building in Sixth Avenue, near Waverley Place, 
and in this forbidding abode produced Ligeia and 
The Fall of the House of Usher/ while in an old- 
fashioned dwelling lately gone from West Eighty -fourth 
Street the poet and his family boarded when he wrote 
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar/ and, if 
tradition is to be relied upon, his most famous poem, 
The Raven." 51 

The remainder of the year 1844 was rilled out with 
the following list of literary work : Review of Home s 
"Orion," "Graham s," for March; "A Tale of 
the Ragged Mountains," " Godey s Lady s Book," 
April; Review in "The Pioneer"; "Dreamland," 
"Graham s," for June; "Mesmeric Revelation," 
"Columbian Magazine," August; "The Oblong 
Box," "Godey s," September; work as sub-editor 
and paragraphist on " The Evening Mirror "; " Thou 
Art the Man," " Godey s," November; " The Lit 
erary Life of Thingum-Bob, Esq., late editor of the 
Goosetherumfoodle, "Southern Literary Mes 
senger," December; "Marginalia," I. and II., 
"Democratic Review," November and December. 
"The Premature Burial," "The Purloined Let 
ter," "The System of Doctors Tar and Fether " 
(as he gives the title in a letter to Lowell, May 28, 
1844), were in the hands of different editors, but as 
yet unpublished. 

One of his least amiable biographers, commenting 
on Poe s industry, writes: 

"The list of the tales still in the hands of editors 
which this letter gives, brings out strongly one source 

i From Baltimore Sun December 30, iqoo. 


of the discouragement under which Poe had to bear 
up. He had been for ten years a writer of untiring 
industry, and in that time had produced an amount of 
work large in quantity and excellent in quality, much 
of it belonging in the very highest rank of imaginative 
prose ; but his books had never sold, and the income 
from his tales and other papers in the magazines had 
never sufficed to keep the wolf from the door unless he 
eked out his resources by editing." 

The continual necessity for hackwork of this descrip 
tion injured the poet s spontaneity beyond measure and 
left him fagged, exhausted, enervated, in the humor to 
lapse into that fearful addiction to morphine so vividly 
pictured in "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains." 
Thinking he had found a congenial spirit in Lowell, he 
wrote to him at this time : "I have been too deeply 
conscious of the mutability and evanescence of temporal 
things to give any continuous effort to anything to 
be consistent in anything. My life has been whim 
impulse passion a longing for solitude a scorn of 
all things present, in an earnest desire for the future. 

{f Now profoundly excited by music, and by some 
poems, those of Tennyson especially whom, with 
Keats, Shelley, Coleridge (occasionally), and a few 
others of like thought and expression, I regard as 
the sole poets. Music is the perfection of the soul, or 
idea, of poetry. The vagueness of exaltation aroused 
by a sweet air (which should be strictly indefinite and 
never too strongly suggestive) is precisely what we 
should aim at in poetry. Affectation, within bounds, 
is thus no blemish." 

The "whim, the impulse, the passion," 
rode and ruled him to the last and perhaps con- 


stituted the temperamental factor that coined itself 
into his theory that all phases of literary art, to be 
effective, must be brief, intense, concentrated, im 
pressionistic, just as impulse, whim, and passion 
are shortlived and ephemeral. His best poems, 
of the ante-" Raven " period, he declared to be 
" hurried and unconsidered " " The Sleeper," 
"The Conqueror Worm, "The Haunted Palace," 
"Lenore," "Dreamland," "The Coliseum," in 
the order named ; and in similar fashion he names to 
Lowell as his best tales, "Ligeia," "The Gold- 
Bug," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The 
Fall of the House of Usher," "The Tell-Tale 
Heart," "The Black Cat," "William Wilson," 
and "A Descent into the Maelstrom," also in the order 
named, adding that perhaps " The Purloined Let 
ter," forthcoming, was the best of his tales of 

Poe s correspondence with Lowell ranged up and 
down the whole gamut of greeting, from " My Dear 
Friend," "My Dear Mr. Lowell," to the form 
which the friendship took under the cooling influ 
ence of Charles F. Briggs s criticisms and insinuations 
in Poe s review of Lowell s "Fable for Critics." 
Later on, in the "Messenger " for February, 1849, 
there were indications that this promising friendship 
had frozen to an icicle. " To show the general man 
ner of the Fable," he writes, " we quote a portion of 
what he says about Mr. Poe : 

" There comes Poe with his Raven, like Barnaby Rudge, 
Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge, 
Who talks like a book of iambs and pentameters, 
In a way to make all men of common sense damn metres j 
Who has written some things quite the best of their kind, 
But the heart somehow seems all squeezed out by the mind. " 


In return for this Poe denounced Lowell as "one 
of the most rabid of the Abolition fanatics ; and no 
Southerner, who does not wish to be insulted, and at 
the same time revolted by a bigotry the most obsti 
nately blind and deaf, should ever touch a volume by 
this author. His fanaticism about slavery is a mere 
local outbreak of the same innate wrong-headedness 
which, if he owned slaves, would manifest itself in 
atrocious ill-treatment of them, with murder of any 
abolitionist who should endeavor to set them free. A 
fanatic of Mr. Lowell s species is simply a fanatic for 
the sake of fanaticism, and must be a fanatic in what 
ever circumstances you place him. . . . All whom 
he praises are Bostonians. Other writers are bar 
barians, and satirized accordingly, if mentioned 
at all." 

Just about this time (1844-45) Lowell was en 
gaged on the paper "Our Contributors. No. XVII: 
Edgar Allan Poe. With a Portrait. By James Rus 
sell Lowell/ which appeared in Graham s" for 
February, 1845, and which delighted Poe with its 
laudation. Lowell was ten years younger than Poe, 
and was at the time a young man who viewed his 
elder with a reverence and appreciation almost amount 
ing to awe. "Mr. Poe," he remarks, "is at once 
the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless 
critic upon imaginative works who has written in 
America. It may be that we should qualify our re 
mark a little, and say that he might be, rather than 
that he always //, for he seems sometimes to mistake 
his phial of prussic acid for his inkstand. If we do 
not always agree with him in his premises, we are, 
at least, satisfied that his deductions are logical, and 


that we are reading the thoughts of a man who thinks 
for himself, and says what he thinks, and knows 
well what he is talking about. His analytic power 
would furnish forth bravely some score of ordinary 
critics. . . . Had Mr. Poe had the control of a 
magazine of his own, in which to display his critical 
abilities, he would have been as autocratic, ere this, in 
America, as Professor Wilson has been in England ; 
and his criticisms, we are sure, would have been far 
more profound and philosophical than those of the 
Scotsman. As it is, he has squared out blocks enough 
to build an enduring pyramid, but has left them lying 
carelessly and unclaimed in many different quarries." 

Mr. Lowell then continued in a penetrating com 
parison of Poe s precocity with that of Shakspere, 
Milton, Pope, Collins, Chatterton, Kirke White, 
Burns, Byron, Wordsworth, Southey, Shelley, and 
Cowley, ending with, "We call them [the poems] 
the most remarkable boyish poems that we have ever 
read. We know of none that can compare with 
them for maturity of purpose, and a nice under 
standing of the effects of language and metre. . . . 
Mr. Poe has that indescribable something which men 
have agreed to call genius. 

Alas, that this honey should turn into gall, and that 
the two quondam friends should live to bespatter each 
other s reputation ! 

Professor Woodberry s version of the rupture is as 
follows : 

" Not long before," June 29, 1845, "being on 
his way from Philadelphia back to Cambridge, Lowell 
called on Poe ; but as, in Mrs. Clemm s words to the 
former, he was not himself that day, none of those 
golden hopes, indulged in by Poe, and at an earlier 


day by Briggs also, were realized from this personal 
meeting. The interview, however, prepared Lowell 
for the following passage in Briggs s next letter, in 
explanation of what seemed a sudden demise of the 
[Broadway] Journal. Then follows an account of 
a " drunken spree," in which Poe had indulged : 

" Foe s mother-in-law told me that he was quite 
tipsy the day that you called upon him, and that he 
acted very strangely ; but I perceived nothing of it 
when I saw him in the morning. He was to have de 
livered a poem before the societies of the New York 
University a few weeks since, but drunkenness pre 
vented him. I believe he had not drank \_sii\ any 
thing for more than eighteen months until within the 
past three months, but in this time he has been very 
frequently carried home in a wretched condition. 

That Mrs. Clemm, Poe s guardian angel, the one 
woman in all the world most anxious to shield her 
nephew and son-in-law s reputation from the cruel 
criticism of strangers, should confess to the stranger 
Briggs that he was " tipsy " is altogether incredible 
and rests only on the unauthenticated testimony of a 
man who was now Poe s professed enemy. 

Mrs. Clemm, all her life long, showed herself the 
truest friend of her daughter s husband ; and why 
Willis s style in his famous characterization of her in 
the " Home Journal " for October 13, 1849, snou ^ 
be stigmatized except by a determined enemy as 
" falsetto," we are at a loss to conceive. This char 
acterization ran as follows : 

" Our first knowledge of Mr. Poe s removal to this 
city was by a call which we received from a lady who 
introduced herself to us as the mother of his wife. She 
was in search of employment for him, and she excused 


her errand by mentioning that he was ill, that her 
daughter was a confirmed invalid, and that their cir 
cumstances were such as compelled her taking it upon 
herself. The countenance of this lady, made beautiful 
and saintly with an evidently complete giving up of 
her life to privation and sorrowful tenderness, her 
gentle and mournful voice urging its plea, her long- 
forgotten but habitually and unconsciously refined man 
ners, and her appealing and yet appreciative mention 
of the claims and abilities of her son, disclosed at once 
the presence of one of those angels upon earth that 
women in adversity can be. It was a hard fate that 
she was watching over. Mr. Poe wrote with fastidious 
difficulty, and in a style too much above the popular 
level to be well paid. He was always in pecuniary 
difficulty, and, with his sick wife, frequently in want 
of the merest necessaries of life. Winter after winter, 
for years, the most touching sight to us, in this whole 
city, has been that tireless minister to genius, thinly 
and insufficiently clad, going from office to office with 
a poem, or an article on some literary subject, to sell 
sometimes simply pleading in a broken voice that 
he was ill, and begging for him, mentioning nothing 
but that he was ill, whatever might be the 
reason for his writing nothing and never, amid all 
her tears and recitals of distress, suffering one syllable 
to escape her lips that could convey a doubt of him, or 
a complaint , or a lessening of pride in his genius and 
good intentions [italics ours]. Her daughter died a year 
and a half since, but she did not desert him. She 
continued his ministering angel living with him 
caring for him guarding him against exposure, and, 
when he was carried away by temptation, amid grief 
and the loneliness of feelings unreplied to, and awoke 


from his self-abandonment prostrated in destitution and 
suffering, begging for him still. If woman s devotion, 
born with a first love, and fed with human passion, 
hallow its object, as it is allowed to do, what does not 
a devotion like this pure, disinterested, and holy as 
the watch of an invisible spirit say for him who 
inspired it ? " 

Of this venerated and excellent woman the follow 
ing is a little sketch furnished us by her relative Miss 
Amelia F. Poe, to whom this edition is also indebted 
for likenesses of Virginia and Edgar. 

" Maria Poe was a daughter of Gen. David Poe and 
Elizabeth Cairnes Poe. She was born in Baltimore, 
Maryland, March I zth, 1 790, and was married at 
St. Paul s Church, Baltimore, Maryland, July 13, 
1817, by the Rev. William Wyatt, to William 
Clemm, Jr., son of Col. William and Catherine 
Clemm, of Mount Prospect, now (1901) Walbrook, 
a suburb of Baltimore. They had children, Henry 
and Maria, who died young. Virginia, afterwards 
wife of Edgar Allan Poe, born August 13,* 1822, 
died at Fordham, New York, January 30, 1847. Her 
father, William Clemm, Jr., died in Baltimore, Febru 
ary 8th, 1826, and was buried in St. Paul s graveyard, 
Baltimore. His widow, Maria Poe Clemm, died in 
Baltimore, February 16, 1871. She was first buried 
in her father s lot, No. 27, Westminster Churchyard, 
Baltimore, and her remains were transferred at the 
same time as those of her nephew and son-in-law, 
Edgar Allan Poe, November 17, 1875, and they both 
lie now under the Poe Monument." 

1 St. Paul s records say August 22. 


Poe s first engagement in New York seems to have 
been with Willis, as " mechanical paragraphist " and 
sub-editor of the latter s " Evening Mirror." Of 
Willis he had a very kindly opinion, evinced in the 
following extract from <f The Literati " : 

" As a writer of* sketches, properly so called, Mr. 
Willis is unequalled. Sketches, especially of society, 
are his for te, and they are so for no other reason than 
that they afford him the best opportunity of introduc 
ing the personal Willis ; or, more distinctly, because 
this species of composition is most susceptible of im 
pression from his personal character. The degage 
tone of this kind of writing, too, best admits and en 
courages that kind of fancy which Mr. Willis possesses 
in the most extraordinary degree ; it is in fancy that 
he reigns supreme ; this, more than any one other 
quality, and, indeed, more than all his other literary 
qualities combined, has made him what he is. It is 
this which gives him the originality, the freshness, the 
point, the piquancy, which appear to be the immediate, 
but which are, in fact, the mediate sources of his popu 
larity. . . . Mr. Willis s career has naturally made 
him enemies among the envious host of dunces whom 
he has outstripped in the race for fame ; and these his 
personal manner (a little tinctured with reserve, 
brusquerie or even haughtiness) is by no means 
adapted to conciliate. He has innumerable warm 
friends, however, and is himself a warm friend. He 
is impulsive, generous, bold, impetuous, vacillating, 
irregularly energetic apt to be hurried into error, 
but incapable of deliberate wrong." 

Poe s association with Willis on The Evening 
Mirror" left a most agreeable impression on the mind 
and memory of the latter. In a letter dated Idlewild, 
October 17, 1859, Willis writes: 


" In our harassing and exhausting days of daily * 
editorship, Poe, for a long time, was our assistant 
the constant and industrious occupant of a desk in our 
office. . . . Poe came to us quite incidentally, neither 
of us having been personally acquainted with him till 
that time ; and his position towards us, and connec 
tion with us, of course unaffected by claims of previous 
friendship, were a fair average of his general inter 
course and impressions. As he was a man who never 
smiled, and never said a propitiatory or deprecating 
word, we were not likely to have been seized with 
any sudden partiality or wayward caprice in his favor. 
/ should preface my avowal of an almost reverence for 
the man, as I knew him, by reminding the reader of 
the strange double, common to the presence and mag 
netism of a man of genius, the mysterious electricity of 

" tt was rather a step downward, after being the 
chief editor of several monthlies, as Poe had been, to 
come into the office of a daily journal as a mechanical 
paragraphist. It was his business to sit at a desk, in a 
corner of the editorial room, ready to be called upon 
for any of the miscellaneous work of the day ; yet 
you remember how absolutely and how goodhumoredly 
ready he was for any suggestion ; how punctually and 
industriously reliable in the following out of the wish 
once expressed ; how cheerful and present-minded 
his work when he might excusably have been so listless 
and abstracted. We loved the man for the entireness 
of fidelity with which he served us. When he left us, 
we were very reluctant to part with him." 
And he goes on : 

" Poe was employed by us, for several months, as 
critic and sub-editor. This was our first personal 


acquaintance with him. . . . With the highest admira 
tion for his genius, and a willingness to let it atone for 
more than ordinary irregularity, we were led by com 
mon report to expect a very capricious attention to his 
duties, and, occasionally, a scene of violence and difficulty. 
Time went on, however, and he was invariably punctual 
and industrious. With his pale, beautiful, and intel 
lectual face, as a reminder of what genius was in him, it 
was impossible, of course, not to treat him always with 
deferential courtesy, and, to our occasional request that 
he would not probe too deep in a criticism, or that he 
would erase a passage coloured too highly with his resent 
ments against society and mankind, he readily and 
courteously assented far more yielding than most 
men, we thought, on points so excusably sensitive. 
With a prospect of taking the lead in another periodical, 
he, at last, voluntarily gave up his employment with us, 
and, through all this considerable period, we had seen but 
one presentment of the man a quiet, patient, indus 
trious, and most gentlemanly person, commanding the 
utmost respect and good feeling by his unvarying deport 
ment and ability." l 

The year 1845 was the "banner" year of Poe s 
literary life : never afterwards never before did he 
attain such maturity, such variety, or such ripeness in 
his intellectual work. The short-lived ff Broadway 
Journal enabled him to revise and reprint, generally 
in more finished form, nearly everything that he had 
yet produced. He has been bitterly reproached and 
sneered at for this by persons who ought to know better, 
whose own search for //^perfection is directly the 
reverse of Poe s continual search for perfection. This 

1 Ingram, I., pp. 260-262. 
VOL. I. 14 


was the only opportunity he ever had an opportunity 
for which he perpetually prayed of running a journal, 
however shortlived, for himself, on independent lines, 
and, after the paper passed into his hands, he availed 
himself of it in a way for which posterity can be but 
grateful, for the " Broadway Journal " form is, first 
and last, with The Raven and Other Poems" of 
1845, and the Eureka" of 1848, the final and un 
changeable form in which, substantially, the Poe texts 
have been left to us. 

In his sketch of Charles F. Briggs, in " The Liter 
ati," Poe writes : 

" In connection with Mr. John Bisco, he was the 
originator of the late Broadway Journal my edi 
torial connection with that work not having commenced 
until the sixth or seventh * number, although I wrote 
for it occasionally from the first. . . . Mr. Briggs 
is better known as Harry Franco, a nom de plume 
assumed since the publication, in the Knickerbocker 
Magazine, of his series of papers called Adventures 
of Harry Franco. . . . Mr. Briggs s manner, how 
ever, is an obvious imitation of Smollett ; and, as usual 
with all imitations, produces an unfavorable impression 
upon those conversant with the original. . . . He is 
from Cape Cod or Nantucket, . . . and is the centre 
of a little circle of rather intellectual people, of which 
the Kirklands, Lowell, and some other notabilities are 
honorary members." 

The reference to Lowell is significant, as it is to 
him that after a fortissimo of laudation in which super- 

1 Mr. Ingram, I., 270, writes : " It was not until Nov. 10 
that I had anything to do with this journal as editor, is Poe s en 
dorsement upon our copy, but from its commencement he wrote 
for it." 


latives seem inadequate, Briggs begins, trickle trickle, 
drop by drop piano, piano, pianissimo then 
with a torrential fury, to swell into a tumult of abuse 
and denunciation of his editorial assistant. 

The laudation began with : "I like Poe exceed 
ingly well ; Mr. Griswold has told me shocking bad 
stories about him, which his whole demeanor contra 
dicts. ... I have always strangely misunderstood Poe, 
from thinking him one of the Graham and Godey 
species, but I find him as different as possible. I think 
that you [Lowell] will like him well when you come 
to know him personally." l 

"The rift within the lute" began with the un 
savory "Longfellow War," in which Poe accused 
the Maine poet of plagiarism : " Poe has left the 
Mirror. Willis was too Willisy for him. Unfortu 
nately for him (Poe) he has mounted a very ticklish 
hobby just now, Plagiarism, which he is bent on 
riding to death, and I think the better way is to let 
him run down as soon as possible by giving him no 
check. Wiley and Putnam are going to publish a new 
edition of his tales and sketches. Everybody has been 
raven-mad about his last poem, and his lecture, which 
W. Story went with me to hear, has gained him a 
dozen or two of waspish foes who will do him more 
good than harm." 

Then, vacillatingly, in a letter a few days later, 
" Poe has, indeed, a very high admiration for Long 
fellow, and so he will say before he is done [with the 
" Outis "-Longfellow controversy]. For my own 
part I did not use to think well of Poe [compare this 
with our first extract], but my love for you and im 
plicit confidence in your judgment, led me to abandon 

1 Woodberry, Life, p. 226. 


all my prejudices against him when I read your ac 
count of him [in te Graham s" for February]. The 
Rev. Mr. Griswold, of Philadelphia, told me some 
abominable lies about him, but a personal acquaintance 
with him has induced me to think highly of him. Per 
haps some Philadelphian has been whispering foul 
things in your ear about him. Doubtless his sharp 
manner has made him many enemies. But you will 
think better of him when you meet him." 

Later, " I shall haul down Poe s name, he has 
latterly got into his old habits and I fear will injure 
himself irretrievably. I was taken at first with a certain 
appearance of independence and learning in his criti 
cisms, but they are so verbal, and so purely selfish that 
I can no longer have any sympathy with him." 

This is followed by the charges of drunkenness, the 
temporary suspension of the "Journal," the exclu 
sion of Briggs from its management when it was re 
sumed, and a rigmarole of denunciation of Poe by 
Briggs as a man utterly destitute of "high motive" 
because, apparently, Briggs could not make as much 
money out of Poe s brains as he had hoped and did 
not have brains enough himself to make a success. 

At all events, Poe succeeded Briggs as editor and 
Bisco went on with the publishing, allowing Poe 
until October a one-third interest in the publication. 
October 24 he became sole proprietor of the "Jour 
nal," having bought out Bisco s interest for $50. 





MEANWHILE, it is necessary to retrace our steps and 
recall a date the most memorable in Poe s history, the 
zgth of January, 1845. Hitherto he had been a local, 
an American, writer : henceforth whatever he wrote 
was to be the world s possession. The medium of 
this marvellous expansion was "The Raven," first 
published in Willis s "Evening Mirror" from ad 
vanced sheets of the "American Whig Review." 

It was introduced by Willis in the following note : 

"We are permitted to copy (in advance of publica 
tion), from the second number of the American Re 
view, the following remarkable poem by Edgar Poe. 
In our opinion, it is the most effective single example 
of fugitive poetry ever published in this country ; 
and unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle concep 
tion, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent 
sustaining of imaginative lift. ... It is one of those 
dainties bred in a book, which we feed on. It will 
stick to the memory of everybody who reads it." 

A few days later "The Raven" appeared in the 
February number of this magazine and gave both it and 
"The Evening Mirror " a wonderful "send off." 
The poem floated over the Atlantic as the three 
Parisian romances of " The Murders in the Rue 
Morgue," "The Mystery of Marie Roget," and 


"The Purloined Letter" had done and called 
forth the enthusiastic admiration of Miss Barrett and 
Robert Browning. One " Quarles " commented 
pseudonymously on the poem in " The Review," but 
the mystification was soon apparent, and the authorship 
attributed to the proper source. 

" Quarles had commented as follows and 
Quarles is a thinly-veiled Poe : "The following 
lines from a correspondent, besides the deep quaint 
strain of the sentiment, and the curious introduction of 
some ludicrous touches amidst the serious and impres 
sive, as was doubtless intended by the author, ap 
pear to us one of the most felicitous specimens of 
unique rhyming which has for some time met our eye. 
The resources of English rhythm for varieties of mel 
ody, measure, and sound, producing corresponding 
diversities of effect, have been thoroughly studied, 
much more perceived, by very few poets in the lan 
guage. While the classic tongues, especially the Greek, 
possess, by power of accent, several advantages for 
versification over our own, chiefly through greater 
abundance of spondaic feet, we have other and very 
great advantages of sound by the modern usage of 
rhyme. Alliteration is nearly the only effect of that 
kind which the ancients had in common with us. It 
will be seen that much of the melody of The Raven 
arises from alliteration, and the studious use of similar 
sounds in unusual places. In regard to its measure, it 
may be noted that, if all the verses were like the second, 
they might properly be placed merely in short lines, 
producing a not uncommon form ; but the presence in 
all the others of one line mostly the second in the 
verse which flows continuously with only an aspir 
ate pause in the middle, like that before the short line 







in the Sapphic Adonic, while the fifth has at the mid 
dle pause no similarity of sound with any part beside, 
gives the versification an entirely different effect. We 
could wish the capacities of our noble language, in 
prosody, were better understood." 

Technically, Poe afterwards, in the (t Outis " 
controversy, explained the verse of " The Raven " 
as "trochaic octarneter acatalectic, alternating with 
heptameter catalectic repeated in the refrain of the 
fifth verse, and terminating with tetrameter catalectic. * 

In "The Philosophy of Composition " he lifts the 
lid from the cauldron where glowed the constituent ele 
ments of his wonderful poem-philtre and reveals to us its 
mechanism : the poem was to be about one hundred 
lines long, made up of equal proportions of Beauty 
and Quaintness intermingled with Melancholy. A 
strange and thrilling refrain was to impress this combi 
nation on the reader by means of long sonorous o s and 
r s swelling on the ear and the memory in anthemlike 
ululations, reverberations of waves on the shore, clothed, 
the whole, in rhythms whose luxuriance of allitera 
tions, susurrus of honeyed vowels and liquids and rise 
and fall of Eolian cadences would attune the very soul 
to melody and make the poem as sweet as the dissolv 
ing notes of Apollo s lute. The refrain was to be 
uttered by a Raven : "I had now gone so far as the 
conception of a Raven the bird of ill-omen monot 
onously repeating the one word, Nevermore, at the 
conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy 
tone, and in length about one hundred lines. Now, 
never losing sight of the object supremeness or perfec 
tion, at all points, I asked myself Of all melan 
choly topics, what, according to the universal 
understanding of mankind, is the most melancholy ? 


Death was the obvious reply. And when/ I 
said, is this most melancholy of topics most poeti 
cal ? From what I have already explained at some 
length, the answer here also is obvious When it 
most closely allies itself to Beauty ; the death, then, of 
a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poeti 
cal topic in the world and equally is it beyond doubt 
that the lips best suited for such a topic are those of a 
bereaved lover.* 

" I had now to combine the two ideas, of a lover 
lamenting his deceased mistress and a Raven continu 
ously repeating the word Nevermore. 

How masterfully this is done the most cursory 
reading of the poem will show until, as the poet 
says, the Raven becomes in the last stanza ft emble 
matical of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance," 
embalmed in a stanzaic form "each of whose lines, 
taken individually, has been employed before," but 
"what originality The Raven has is in their combi 
nation into stanzas ; nothing even remotely approach 
ing this combination has ever been attempted. The 
effect of this originality of combination is aided by 
other unusual and some altogether novel effects, arising 
from an extension of the application of the principles 
of rhyme and alliteration." 

The lame efforts of " Outis " to trace the quaint 
repetition, in the last two lines of many of the stanzas, 
to a palpable imitation of the manner of Coleridge, in 
several of the stanzas of "The Ancient Mariner," 
produced by running two lines into one, thus : 

" For all averred, I had killed the bird that made the breeze to 


* Ah, wretch ! said they, * the bird to slay, that made the breeze 
to blow ! " 


remain lame ; and equally futile are the attempts to 
trace magic rhythms of "The Raven" into the re 
cesses of "Lady Geraldine s Courtship." Mrs. 
Browning herself was familiar with the American poem 
and never accused Poe of stealing her metres. 

Of the genesis and evolution of the poem until it 
appeared in print little or nothing authentic is known. 
It was one of Poe s surprises, and we cannot trace 
its growth as we can that of " The Bells" or " Le- 
nore," from the germ to the perfect flower. In print 
it went through six stages, all immediately under Poe s 
eye "The Evening Mirror," "The American 
Review," "The Broadway Journal " for February 
8, 1845, the poet s edition of 1845; the "South 
ern Literary Messenger ; " and there is a copy of the 
1 845 edition owned by the Century Association which 
contains a few of Poe s MS. notes. 

The nearest approximation to authenticity in the 
accounts of an earlier origin for "The Raven " is 
that given by Mr. Rosenbach, in " The Baltimore 
American" for February 26, 1887: "I read The 
Raven long before it was published, and was in 
George R. Graham s office when the poem was offered 
to him. Poe said that his wife and Mrs. Clemm were 
starving, and that he was in very pressing need of 
the money. 1 carried him $15 contributed by Mr. 
Graham, Mr. Godey, Mr. McMichael, and others, 
who condemned the poem, but gave the money as a 
charity." 1 

As the poem appeared January 29, 1845, it is evi 
dent it must have been composed some weeks before, 

1 Woodberry, Poems, p. 157. 


which would place its composition somewhere within 
the year 1 844. 

The following newspaper clipping (newspaper not 
named) sent the writer by John P. Poe, Esq., of Bal 
timore, the poet s relative, throws interesting light on 
this obscure subject and affords a variant reading for 
one of the lines in the famous " Raven " : 

"Judge George Shea, formerly of the Marine Court 
of New York, has a letter written to his father by 
Edgar Allan Poe. 

" The letter from Poe is written on a glazed paper 
without lines, the penmanship is clear and legible, the 
ink is unfaded, and this is the way the letter read, 
punctuation and capitalization being followed : 

DEAR SHEA, Lest I should have made some mistake 
in the hurry I transcribe the whole alteration. Instead of 
the whole stanza commencing " Wondering at the still 
ness broken 1 &c substituting this : 

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, 
" Doubtless," said I, (t what it utters is its only stock and store 
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster 
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore 
Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore, 
* Nevermore oh, Nevermore ! " 

At the close of the stanza preceding this, instead of 
" Quoth the raven Nevermore," substitute " Then the 
bird said Nevermore/ * Truly yours, POE. 

" On the back of the letter is the address, J. Au 
gustus Shea, Esq., and the words, To be delivered 
as soon as he comes in. 

"John Augustus Shea in his time was a literary 
man of ability and industry. His son, Judge Shea, 
speaking of the Poe letter, said : 


" While at West Point my father and Edgar Allan 
Poe, who was then a cadet, were the closest associates, 
and it is probable that in his company Poe received his 
first poetic impulses, for it was at that time he first 
began writing verses. Poe left West Point before the 
time of graduation, and soon after published a volume 
of poems, now a very rare book, a copy of which was 
sold in Boston not long since for several hundred dollars. 
The friendship between the two men continued until 
Shea s death. Poe often consulted with Shea about the 
publication of his poems. It was in this way that he 
committed to Shea the publication, anonymously, of 
the "Raven " which made its first appearance in the 
February number of the "American Review," 1845, 
under the nom de plume of " Ouarles. " 

" It was at this time that the letter from Poe to Shea, 
given at the beginning of this article, was written and 
left at Shea s house during his absence. As you will 
see it is without date. For a short time among those 
who knew that Shea caused the poem to be published 
he was regarded as the author, an inference not at all im 
probable to those who read his "Address to the Ocean," 
his lines to "The Mountain Pine of Scotland," or 
"TheO Kavanaugh." 

"Judge Shea himself knew Poe personally, and 
in the forties was often in his company. Judge Shea 
said only the other day : Poe was one of the best 
elocutionists I have ever heard. It was my good 
fortune to be present when Poe and my father read 
and recited to each other. I remember distinctly 
Poe s rendering of " Florence Vane " and "Annabel 
Lee," and more than once his own "Raven." His 
reading of the " R.aven " left upon the mind a very 
different impression from that which it inspires in 


print. It was a weird, rapturous invocation as to an 
actual presence. 

" Poe was among the first of the authors that took 
to reading and lecturing as a professional occupation. 
I heard him in the society library in New York in March, 
1845, on "The Poets and Principles of Poetry." 
But he was at his best in smaller circles of intimate 
friends. He told me that he recalled me in my early 
childhood, but I have no recollection of meeting him 
at West Point. The autograph letter from him to my 
father was found among my father s papers after his 
death. In the summer of 1848 the letter was given 
to Miss Adelaide Burkle of Oswego, now the wife of 
Major General John P. Hatch, formerly commandant 
at West Point and afterward the distinguished military 
commander at Charleston. Mrs. Hatch retained the 
letter until 1889, when she gave it to my children as 
a souvenir properly due to them as showing the rela 
tions between Poe and their grandfather. The por 
traits of Poe represent him with a moustache. I do 
not recall that he wore one when I saw him. He had 
a graceful walk, a beautiful olive complexion, was 
strikingly handsome, but he had a weak chin. 

Additional light is thrown on this period by the fol 
lowing extract from a private letter to the author : 

"I wrote you that I did not have any personal ac 
quaintance with Mr. Poe. I employed him to write 
for the Messenger* at his own price, $3 a printed 
page. He sent me two or three articles entirely un 
worthy of him, and the magazine. Still, they were 
published and paid for. 

ff I have, however, one pleasant thing of him to tell 
you. When he had published his * Raven in the 


American Whig Review/ he was dissatisfied and 
wrote me a very kind and diplomatic letter, requesting 
me to suspend the well-known rule of the Messenger 
against republications, to take out the middle dividing 
line of its pages and let the poem appear in full, in the 
beautiful typography of the ( Messenger. I complied 
with his request. One of his biographers, speaking of 
his writings, says he never altered his final composi 
tions ; that he neither dotted an i nor crossed a t. If 
this were true, it would only show with what care 
Mr, Poe prepared his revised versions for the press. 
But my recollection was that one of the reasons he as 
signed for wishing me to republish The Raven was, 
that he desired to make some alterations. Therefore 
I collated the versions of the Whig Review and the 
Messenger, and there were alterations not many ; 
but in my judgment every one was an improvement. 
" Yours very truly, 

" B. B. MINOR." 

Dr. B. B. Minor is the venerable, still living editor 
of " The Southern Literary Messenger," who pur 
chased that magazine and edited it from 1843 to 1847. 
His testimony gives witness to a sixth " state " of 
" The Raven " hitherto overlooked by commentators, 
and confirms the statement that Poe never revised 
without improving : non tetigit quod non ornavit, an 
aphorism which he himself iterates to satiety. 

Poe s theory of the death of a beautiful woman 
being the most poetical of all themes was repeatedly 
exemplified by him not only in "The Raven," but 
in " Annabel Lee," "Lenore," "The Sleeper," 
"Ulalume," and "To One in Paradise" ; a theme 
which haunted him as did the themes of Death, De- 


cay, "the worm that dieih not," and the dethroned 
reason. The "bleak December" of "The 
Raven " seems a subtle allusion to the death-month 
of his mother, who died in that month at Richmond, 
while " Ulalume," with its "sere October," pro 
phetically names his own death-month. 

Poe s manner of reciting "The Raven " soon at 
tracted attention and he was frequently called upon 
to repeat it. 

"The other afternoon," writes a correspondent of 
the Louisville "Courier-Journal" (March 8, 1885), 
"I asked a lady who knew him to tell me all about 
Poe ; to recall for my benefit the memories of hours 
passed in his society, and to allow me a sight of her 
souvenirs. The favor denied others was granted me, 
and in a few moments we were sitting where the wintry 
sunlight filtered through the curtains, talking of him ; 
while close at hand was a parcel containing his letters, 
a portrait, and some Marginalia, all tied together 
with a faded blue ribbon. There was something in 
expressibly touching in her veneration for his memory ; 
friendship for him was too sacred a thing to parade 
before a curious public. Before opening the parcel 
she spoke of The Raven J and described Poe s 
manner of rendering that poem ; he would turn down 
the lamps till the room was almost dark, then standing 
in the centre of the apartment he would recite those 
wonderful lines in the most melodious of voices ; grad 
ually becoming more and more enthused with his new 
creation, he forgot time, spectators, his personal 
identity, as the wild hopes and repressed longings of 
his heart found vent in the impassioned words of the 
poem. To the listeners came the sounds of falling 
rain and waving branches; the Raven flapped his 


dusky wings above the bust of Pallas, and the lovely 
face of Lenore appeared to rise before them. So 
marvellous was his power as a reader that the auditors 
would be afraid to draw breath lest the enchanted 
spell be broken. 

" He was a distinguished-looking man ; his com 
plexion was very odd, at times overcast with an < in 
tellectual pallor, and again his cheeks were rosier 
than a child s ; the eyes were marvellous : such orbs, 
perhaps, as shone in the head of the Lady Ligeia, 
whilst his mouth wore the sneering expression visible 
in all portraits of him. 

" He was noted for his perfect taste, and was the 
only person who could render his own poems effec 
tively. He gave lectures and public and private read 
ings ; the public readings were given in the ball-room 
of the Exchange Hotel [Richmond]. He would 
allow this lady to put some favorite pieces on the 
programme, and before beginning any of these he 
would turn towards her seat in the room and preface 
the reading with a profound bow. One of these fa 
vorite pieces was Shelley s A Name is too often 
Profaned. He would render it exquisitely, blending 
language with expression, as the music with the words 
of song." 

Poe himself preferred " The Sleeper," one of his 
boyish poems, to " The Raven." 

The following interesting account of the environ 
ment within which "The Raven" was written 
appeared in a recent New York {f Mail and Ex 
press " : 

" In spite of the oft-repeated story that Edgar 
Allan Poe composed his masterpiece < The Raven, 
in the Poe cottage, at Fordham, the most indisputable 


tradition proves that the poem was written while Poe 
was spending the summer at the homestead of Patrick 
Brennan, father of Deputy-Commissioner Thos. S. 
Brennan, of the Department of Charities and Correc 
tion," said General James R. O Beirne, a brother-in- 
law of the Commissioner, to a party of friends a few 
nights ago. 

" Edgar Allan Poe," continued General O Beirne, 
"spent the summers of 1843 and 1844 at the home 
stead of my father-in-law. I have frequently heard 
the story from my wife s lips, who was about ten 
years old when she became acquainted with the great 
poet. In those days, more than half a century ago, 
Patrick Brennan owned a farm of 216 acres, extend 
ing from a point about 200 feet west of Central Park 
to the Hudson River. It was a picturesque spot, and 
the neighboring territory was considered a sort of 
summer-resort whither a number of persons migrated 
in the hot weather." [Near where the homestead 
stood, on Eighty-fourth Street between Amsterdam 
Avenue and Broadway, there is at present building 
a factory which will bear a tablet commemorative 
of Poe s composition of "The Raven" near that 

" In the summer of 1843, Poe went to the home 
of Mr. Brennan, taking with him his invalid wife, 
Virginia, and her mother, Mrs. Clemm. If Poe s 
biographies, which paint him as a dissipated man, are 
true, then they must refer to his younger days, for 
Mrs. Brennan invariably denied these charges when 
they were made in her presence. 

" During two years she knew him intimately and 
never saw him affected by liquor or do ought that 
evinced the wild impetuous nature with which he has 


been accredited. He was the gentlest of husbands and 
devoted to his invalid wife. Frequently when she was 
weaker than usual, he carried her tenderly from her 
room to the dinner-table and satisfied every whim. 

"Mrs,, Brennan was noted for her kindheartedness 
and sympathetic nature, and once I heard her say that 
Poe read The Raven to her one evening before he 
sent it to the Mirror. 

"It was Poe s custom to wander away from the 
house in pleasant weather to Mount Tom, an im 
mense rock, which may still be seen in Riverside Park, 
where he would sit alone for hours, gazing out upon 
the Hudson. 

<{ Other days he would roam through the surround 
ing woods, and, returning in the afternoon, sit in the 
big room, as it used to be called, by a window and 
work unceasingly with pen and paper, until the even 
ing shadows. 

" No doubt it was upon such an evening, when 
sitting later than usual by the window, dreaming 
dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before, until 
every one else had retired, and the moon hidden her 
light behind a cloud, that he heard the tapping, as of 
some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber 
door. He starts and listens for a moment and then 
forces open the door, anticipating some midnight 
visitor but darkness there and nothing more. For 
awhile he peers out into the darkness, but he can see 
no one and returns to his chair. 

" Then again he hears the rapping somewhat louder 
than before. This time the sound apparently comes 
from the window and he flings open the shutter, 
when with many a flirt and flutter, in there steps a 
stately raven of the saintly days of yore. 
VOL. i. 15 


" Above the door opening into the hallway, there 
stood the pallid bust of Pallas. It was a little 
plaster cast and occupied a shelf nailed to the door 
casing, immediately behind the bust, and occupying 
the space between the top casing and the ceiling; a 
number of little panes of smoky glass took the place 
of the partition. 

" This bust of Minerva was either removed or 
broken by one of the Brennan tenants after the family 
had moved to the city, and no trace of it can be 
found at the present time. 

" Poe was extremely fond of children, and Mrs. 
O Beirne used to tell of lying on the floor at his feet 
and arranging his manuscript. She didn t under 
stand why he turned the written side toward the floor, 
and she would reverse it and arrange the pages 
according to the number upon them. 

" Mrs. Brennan was never vexed with Poe except 
on one occasion, when he scratched his name on the 
mantelpiece in his room. It was a very quaint and 
old-fashioned affair, with carved fruit and vines and 
leaves, and Mrs. Brennan always kept it carefully 
painted. On the day in question Poe was leaning 
against the mantelpiece, apparently in meditation. 
Without thinking, he traced his name on the black 
mantel, and when Mrs. Brennan called his attention 
to what he was doing he smiled and asked her 

" It seems strange that people will persist in saying 
that The Raven was written at the Poe cottage in 
Fordham, while it is well known that the author did 
not move to Fordham until 1846, and the poem ap 
peared in the New York Mirror, in January, 1845, 
and was copied the following month in the Review. 


" The mantel upon which Poe scratched his name 
now adorns the library fireplace of Mr. William Hem- 
street, at 1332 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, who bought 
it when the Brennan homestead was demolished, about 
twelve years ago. 

" Mrs. Manley, a daughter of Patrick Brennan, has 
the lock from Poe s chamber door. It is an old- 
fashioned affair and fully six inches long and five 
wide. Mrs. Manley took it as a souvenir when the 
Brennan home was taken down. 

" The- present occupant of the Poe cottage at Ford- 
ham makes the assertion that the poem was composed 
at the latter place, and exhibits to the credulous sight 
seers the very window where Poe wrote his im 
mortal verses." 

1 The author is indebted to Dr. William Hand Browne, of 
Baltimore, for this account. 





THE year 1845 was, of all Poe s years, perhaps the 
fullest of work : it was distinguished by the publica 
tion of "The Raven," by his editorship of The 
Broadway Journal," first as subordinate, then as one- 
third proprietor, finally as editor and proprietor ; the 
appearance of the complete and, in one sense, final 
edition of his collected poems ; and the collection of 
twelve of his tales selected and edited (presumably) 
by Duyckinck, whose name however nowhere ap 
pears in the rather shabby-looking volume. Poe s 
best work had been repeatedly rejected by the Har 
pers ; Lea and Blanchard of Philadelphia had shrewdly 
accepted and published the two-volume "Tales of the 
Grotesque and Arabesque" in 1840; and now 
Wiley and Putnam were to immortalize themselves by 
issuing the twelve Tales and the Poems. The volume 
of Tales was without preface, extended to 228 pages, 
and contained the following title-pages and contents 
(copied from the original edition) : 

Tales | by | Edgar A. Poe. | New York : | Wiley 
and Putnam, 161 Broadway; 1845. 

Contents. The Gold-Bug ; The Black Cat ; Mes 
meric Revelation ; Lionizing ; The Fall of the House 
of Usher ; A Descent into the Maelstrom ; The 


Colloquy of Monos and Una ; The Conversation of 
Eiros and Charmion ; The Murders in the Rue 
Morgue ; The Mystery of Marie Roget ; The Pur 
loined Letter ; The Man in the Crowd. 

Poe objected strongly to the selection because he 
thought it revealed his ratiocinative side too exclu 
sively, to the detriment of the romantic, poetic, 
humorous, and imaginative facets of his many-sided au 

His own opinion of his prose work as revealed in 
the well-known letter to Lowell (July 2, I 844) was 
as follows : 

"My best tales are Ligeia/ The Gold-Bug/ 
the Murders in the Rue Morgue/ The Fall of 
the House of Usher, the Tell-Tale Heart, the 
Black Cat, William Wilson, and the Descent 
into the Maelstrom " " The Gold-Bug " having 
attained, shortly after its publication, a circulation of 
300,000 copies. Only five of these are contained 
in the Duyckinck collection, which constituted No. 
2 of Wiley and Putnam s "Library of American 

Early in the year Poe had become entangled in the 
notorious " Longfellow War/ which had smouldered 
in a subterranean way ever since the publication of 
"The Haunted Palace" in the " Southern Literary 
Messenger," followed six weeks later by Longfellow s 
" Beleaguered City," and now broke out afresh with 
renewed fury on the occasion of the appearance of 
Longfellow s (S Waif." Poe was an exceedingly alert 
and zealous critic, frequently, from his monomania on 
the subject of plagiarism, pouncing on intangible re 
semblances or haunting reminiscences as the basis of a 
long argument in favor of this or that poet s " thefts." 


Just as his physical machine was extraordinarily irri 
table and open to ^nfluences inapprehensible to less deli 
cate natures, so his moral and intellectual constitution 
was like an Eolian cord strung between window sashes, 
vibrating to whispers inaudible to others, continually 
a-swing with unseen excitements, the prey of stimula 
tions which in some are called madness, in others, 

"What the world calls genius, " says he in "A 
Chapter of Suggestions," " is the state of mental dis 
ease arising from the undue predominance of some one 
of the faculties. The works of such genius are never 
sound in themselves, and, in especial, always betray 
the general mental insanity. . . . That poets (using 
the word comprehensively, as including artists in gen 
eral) are a genus irritabile, is well understood ; but 
the wby, seems not to be commonly seen. An artist 
is an artist only by dint of his exquisite sense of Beauty 
a sense affording him rapturous enjoyment, but at 
the same time implying or involving, an equally ex 
quisite sense of Deformity, of disproportion. Thus a 
wrong an injustice done a poet who is really a 
poet, excites him to a degree which, to ordinary ap 
prehension, appears disproportionate with the wrong. 
Poets see injustice never where it does not exist but 
very often where the unpoetical see no injustice what 
ever. Thus the poetical irritability has no reference 
to temper in the vulgar sense, but merely to a more 
than usual clear-sightedness in respect to wrong : 
this clear-sightedness being nothing more than a corol 
lary from the vivid perceptions of right of justice 
of proportion in a word, of TO KO.\OV. But one 
thing is clear that the man who is not irritable 
(to the ordinary apprehension), is no poet." 


Superadded to these reflections came the fact that 
Poe had all his life lived too fast, in a seventh heaven 
of imaginative exaltation, fevered by the continual 
search for Beauty and the impulse to create it, over- 
energized by a powerful fancy which made him view 
things in an unreal, almost spectral, light, haunted 
psychologically by the pale colors of the spectrum 
the violets, purples, blues that enveloped his spirit 
in a kind of halo and withdrew it from the warm reds 
and flesh-colors of life as it really was. Out of this 
nimbus of encircling glooms he never effectually es 
caped, and his intellectual view became jaundiced and 
purblind towards many of his contemporaries. 

" There are few men of that peculiar sensibility 
which is at the root of genius," says he, "who, in 
early youth, have not expended much of their mental 
energy in living too fast ; and, in later years, comes the 
unconquerable desire to goad the imagination up to that 
point which it would have attained in an ordinary, 
normal, or well-regulated life. The earnest longing 
for artificial excitement, which, unhappily, has char 
acterized too many eminent men, may thus be re 
garded as a psychal want, or necessity an effort to 
regain the lost a struggle of the soul to assume the 
position which, under other circumstances, would have 
been its due." 

In his charges of plagiarism brought in " The Even 
ing Mirror" (January 14, 1845) and reiterated in five 
instalments (beginning March i) of "The Broadway 
Journal," against Aldrich, Longfellow, and others, 
Poe was walking on exceedingly thin ice very 
dangerous ground in fact which easily broke in and 
threatened to swallow up critic as well as criticised. 
Undoubtedly the cultured reader of Longfellow is con- 


tinually teased by haunting reminiscences of things seen 
and heard and read before, and the more cultured the 
reader, the more abounding the haunting reminiscences. 
Longfellow had access to many languages ; he spent 
years of his life teaching these languages and translating 
artistically from them ; and he would have been more 
than mortal if assimilable particles of the foreign gold 
had not clang to his memory and inwrought themselves 
here and there with the filaments of a most malleable 
and plastic nature. The student of <f The Golden 
Legend," or of " Keramos, " feels " Der Arme 
Heinrich," the Schiller background, of these poems 
shimmering through the rich texture of woven gold 
as the bit of verbal Gobelins is being fingered ; but 
then : is there any absolute originality predicable ? do 
we not see the very story of Genesis rooting itself 
in the Babylonian tablets, and the tragedy of Faust 
germinating from the fifteenth century Faust Buch ? 
" Outis " easily turned the tables on Poe and showed 
how readily the Coleridgean rhythms took on a Poesque 
tinge when they were arranged in a certain order ; 
and others have shown how the "silken sad uncertain 
rustling of each purple curtain might possibly be 
traceable to the curtains hanging in a certain tf Casa 
Guidi s Windows ! " 

Poe s criticisms of these poetic contemporaries only 
made him the more vulnerable in spite of his daily 
Achillean bath in the waters of self-sufficiency and in 
tellectual pride ; and they did not fail to retort on him 
with cruel detail and pertinacity. The accusation that 
scenes from " The Spanish Student " imitated par 
allel scenes from his own "Politian" was altogether 
unworthy of Poe, and about as true as that Chivers in 
" Conrad and Eudora," William Gilmore Simms in 


"Beauchampe," and Fermo Hoffman in " Greys- 
laer," all plagiarized from "Politian," because Chi- 
vers, Simms, Hoffman, and Poe all drew in common, 
for their romances and tragedies, from the well-known 
murder of Sharp, the Solicitor-General of Kentucky, 
by Beauchampe. Of this murder Poe wrote : "The 
real events were more impressive than are the fictitious 
ones. The facts of this remarkable tragedy, as ar 
ranged by actual circumstance, would put to shame the 
skill of the most consummate artist. Nothing was left 
to the novelist but the amplification of character, and at 
this point neither the author of Greyslaer nor of 
Beauchampe is especially au fait. The incidents 
might be better woven into a tragedy." 

" Politian " is indeed a delicate idealization of this 
tragedy, never sufficiently appreciated by the critics. 

If Poe, in this ill-tempered and unworthy contro 
versy, had only incidentally called to mind from the 
stores of his own extensive and accurate reading, 
Chaucer, all ablaze and a-hum with " reminiscences " 
of Dante and Boccaccio; Shakspere, with Plutarch and 
the Celtic romances behind him; Milton saturated 
with classical savors ; and Tennyson, the beloved of 
his heart, all compact of Homeric and Virgilian mem 
ories, he might not have inveighed so fiercely against 
Longfellow, the gentlest and most lovable of the 
chameleon school of poets whose very essence it is to 
color and flavor themselves with what they feed on. 
Who, at all events, does not prefer the glistening, 
silken thread of the cocoon to the original mulberry 
leaf which has furnished it ? 

Later on, in a mood of penitence, he wrote in 
"The Literati" notice of James Aldrich, whom he 
had accused of plagiarizing from Thomas Hood s 
"The Death-Bed" : 


" The charge of plagiarism, nevertheless, is a 
purely literary one; and a plagiarism even distinctly 
proved by no means necessarily involves any moral 
delinquency. This proposition applies very especially 
to what appear to be poetical thefts. The poetic 
sentiment presupposes a keen appreciation of the beau 
tiful with a longing for its assimilation into the poetic 
ideality. What the poet intensely admires becomes 
thus, in very fact, although only partially, a portion of 
his own soul. Within this soul it has a secondary 
origination ; and the poet, thus possessed by another s 
thought, cannot be said to take of it possession. But 
in either view he thoroughly feels it as his own ; and 
the tendency to this feeling is counteracted only by the 
sensible presence of the true, palpable origin of the 
thought in the volume whence he has derived it an 
origin which, in the long lapse of years, it is impos 
sible not to forget, should the thought itself, as it often 
is, be forgotten. But the frailest association will 
regenerate it ; it springs up with all the vigor of a new 
birth ; its absolute originality is not with the poet a 
matter even of suspicion ; and when he has written it, 
and printed it, and on its account is charged with 
plagiarism, there will be no one more entirely as 
tounded than himself. Now, from what I have said, 
it appears that the liability to accidents of this charac 
ter is in the direct ratio of the poetic sentiment, of the 
susceptibility to the poetic impression ; and, in fact, 
all literary history demonstrates that, for the most fre 
quent and palpable plagiarisms, we must search the 
works of the most eminent poets." 

Corneille and Guillen de Castro, Vergil and The 
ocritus, Plautus and Menander, Manfred and Faust, 
Byron and Coleridge, are names that one uncon- 


sciously couples together in confirmation of the last 

Poe s other contributions to the magazines during 
the fourteen months now under consideration were : 
" The Oblong Box" and " Thou Art the Man" 
("Godey s" for September and October), "The 
Literary Life of Thingum- Bob" ("Southern Literary 
Messenger" for December), "The Purloined Letter" 
("The Gift" for 1845), " Marginalia " ("Demo 
cratic Review" for November and December), 
"The 1002 Tale of Scheherazade " (" Godey," 
February, 1845), a lecture before the New York 
Historical Society, February 28, and a connection 
with " The Broadway Journal," beginning January 4, 
becoming a co-editorship with Watson and Briggs in 
March. This connection resulted, during the time 
that he was co-editor, in the following contributions 
new and old: "Peter Snook," "The Premature 
Burial," "Lionizing," "Berenice," " Bon-Bon, " 
"The Oval Portrait," " The Philosophy of Furni 
ture," " Three Sundays in a Week," "The Pit and 
the Pendulum," " Eleonora," "Shadow," "The 

Assignation," " Morella," "To F ," "The 

Sleeper" (rejected by O Sullivan of " The Demo 
cratic Review" !), "To One in Paradise," "The 
Conqueror Worm," review of W. W. Lord, miscel 
laneous papers on "Anastatic Printing," "Street 
Paving," and a sour-sweet review of Mrs. Browning s 
(Miss Barrett s) works. 

The " Journal " did not monopolize his busy pen. 
In the April "Whig Review" appeared "The 
Doomed City," "The Valley Nis," and Some 
Words with a Mummy," "The Power of Words " 
("Democratic Review"), "The Facts in the Case 


of M. Valdemar" (" Whig Review" one of the 
rejected Grotesques), " Eulalie " (July "Whig Re 
view"), "The American Drama" (August "Whig 
Review"), "The Imp of the Perverse" ("Gra 
ham s"), "Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether " ("Gra 
ham s"), "Marginalia I. and II." ("Godey s"). 

After his assumption of the editorship of the 
"Broadway Journal, October, 1845, he revised and 
reprinted many of his former publications : " How to 
Write a Black wood Article," "The Masque of the 
Red Death," "The Literary Life of Thingum-Bob," 
"The Business Man," "The Man who was Used 
Up," "Never Bet the Devil your Head," "The 
Tell-Tale Heart," "William Wilson," "Why the 
Little Frenchman wears his Hand in a Sling," "The 
Landscape Garden," "The Tale of Jerusalem," 
" The Island of the Fay," " MS. Found in a Bot 
tle," "The Due de 1 Omelette," "King Pest," 
" The Power of Words," "Diddling considered as 
one of the Exact Sciences," "The Coliseum," 
"Zante," " Israfel," "Silence," "Science," 
"Bridal Ballad," "Eulalie," "Lenore," "A 
Dream," "Catholic Hymn," "Romance," "City 

in the Sea," " To the River ," " The Valley of 

Unrest," "ToF ," "To ," song, "Fairy 
land," and reviews of Hoyt and Hirst (the young poet 
who had written a sketch of Poe) . Before the year quite 
ended, and with it (December 26) his editorship, he 
had added to these, "Some Words with a Mummy," 
" The Devil in the Belfry," " A Tale of the Ragged 
Mountains," "Four Beasts in One," " The Oblong 
Box," "Mystification," "Loss of Breath," and 
"The Spectacles." 

The relentless war which Poe waged on Transcen- 


dentalism and its votaries in New England Emerson, 
Margaret Fuller, William Ellery Channing, and others 
came to a violent and rather discreditable culmina 
tion in October (one of Poe s astrologically fatal 
months) of this year. He had been invited with 
every courtesy, probably at Lowell s instance, to read 
a poem before the Boston Lyceum on the evening of 
the 1 6th ; he accepted ; but instead of the expected 
treat he read, " Al Aaraaf," to the vexation and dis 
appointment of his audience, following up the reading 
however with an artistic recitation of "The Raven." 
The papers did not hesitate to vent their spleen on the 
poet, whose "imp of the perverse " was again in the 
ascendant, and who retorted from New York in a 
malicious and inexcusable vein of insult. His vilifiers 
now streamed from lecture-room, lyceum, and periodi 
cal press, and hurled their venom on the unfortunate 
man whose uncurbable tongue was the root of all his 
misfortunes. He continually confused independence 
of speech with dogmatic arrogance on questions about 
which open-minded men might well disagree ; and 
his imperious tone and temper were anything but con 

Poe had now received the honor of being pirated 
and reprinted in England, and pirated, quarrelled over, 
and translated in France: the "Revue des Deux 
Mondes," the "Charivari," and other French re 
views and journals had noticed, copied, or reviewed 
him, and his Morgue and Mystery Romances had 
created a profound sensation on the Seine. Charles 
Baudelaire, author of "Les Fleurs du Mai," took 
up Poe as a lifelong study and translated him so per 
fectly as to leave little to be desired ; Mallarme, later, 
reproduced " The Raven " in magnificent form ; and 


Poe (Poe, as the Quantin edition prints the name) 
became a cult with Theophile Gautier and his school. 

In a scarce pamphlet now before the writer "Mes 
merism in Articulo Mortis, an Astounding and Hor 
rifying Narrative, shewing the Extraordinary Power 
of Mesmerism in Arresting the Progress of Death : 
By Edgar A. Poe, Esq., of New York. London: 
Short & Co. 1846," we have a curious instance of 
the intense interest excited by Poe s mesmeric hoax, 
an interest shared by Miss Barrett and many others, 
and doubtless heightened by the Advertisement to the 
pamphlet : 

" The following astonishing narrative first appeared 
in the American Magazine, a work of some stand 
ing in the United States, where the case has excited 
the most intense interest. 

"The effects of the mesmeric influence, in this 
case, were so astounding, so contrary to all past ex 
perience, that no one could have possibly anticipated 
the final result. The narrative, though only a plain 
recital of facts, is of so extraordinary a nature as almost 
to surpass belief. It is only necessary to add, that 
credence is given to it in America, where the occur 
rence took place." 

Poe was certainly the transcendentalist the Cagli- 
ostro the Apollonius of the crude practical joke 
etherealized to a work of art : he juggled with the 
baubles of science, of the intuitional life, of the Shadow- 
land between sleep and consciousness until, like an 
Indian fakir, he hoodwinked his gaping audiences be 
fore their very faces and made the incredible everyday 

The crowning achievement, however, of this year 
of many things accomplished was : " The Raven and 


other Poems *: New York: Wiley and Putnam: 
1845, with its glowing dedication : 

"To the Noblest of her Sex To the Author of 
< The Drama of Exile To Miss Elizabeth Barrett 
Barrett, of England, I Dedicate this Volume, with the 
most Enthusiastic Admiration, and with the most Sincere 
Esteem. E. A. P." 

The thirty poems of this thin volume (from a copy 
of the original edition of which we derive these details) 
are the quintessence of Poe s poetical genius, the de 
canted spirit of a rare poetic power which was not yet 
complete indeed, but which was approaching its con 
summation. " The Raven " alone, of this volume, 1 
has given rise to a literature and afforded perhaps the 
widest discussion of any single poem of its length ever 

The other poems of the 184.5 volume remain as 
Poe edited them, in their final form for future genera 
tions. They had been put through many crucibles 
of publication and republication " Southern Literary 
Messenger/ "Graham s," "The Broadway Jour 
nal," and what not until they reached their ulti 
mate crystallization and avatar in this form. 

"The Broadway Journal," however, was not to 
extend its fevered and ephemeral existence beyond 
the year : the January child became the December old 
man. Appeals to George Poe and others for pecuni 
ary assistance were made in vain ; embarrassments 
came thick and fast though the circulation of the peri 
odical had largely increased, and some things connected 

1 See J. H. Ingram s edition of the poem : London : George 
Redway : 1885. 


with it seemed hopeful. Its collapse was announced 
the day after Christmas in the following terms : 

Maledictory. Unexpected engagements demanding 
my whole attention, and the objects being fulfilled so 
far as regards myself personally, for which "The 
Broadway Journal" was established, I now, as its 
editor, bid farewell as cordially to foes as to friends. 


A final number, dated January 3, is said to have been 
issued under the editorship of Thomas Dunn English. 

Among the last words written by Poe this year was 
the Preface to his Poems : 

Preface. These trifles are collected and repub- 
lished chiefly with a view to their redemption from the 
many improvements to which they have been subjected 
while going at random "the rounds ot the press." * 
If what I have written is to circulate at all, I am 
naturally anxious that it should circulate as I wrote it. 
In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is incum 
bent upon me to say, that I think nothing in this 
volume of much value to the public or very creditable 
to myself. Events not to be controlled have prevented 
me from making, at any time, any serious effort in 
what, under happier circumstances, would have been 
the held of my choice. With me poetry has been not 
a purpose, but a passion ; and the passions should be 
held in reverence ; they must not they cannot 
at will be excited with an eye to the paltry compen 
sations, or the more paltry commendations, of 
mankind. E. A. P. 

1 Poe slightly changed the form of this sentence in a MS. 
note to his copy of the Poems. 





IT is time now to take a little peep at the social 
environment by which Poe and his family were sur 
rounded in the winter of I 846, this time through the 
spectacles of the poet Richard Henry Stoddard, a keen 
admirer of Poe s genius, but an unsparing foe to what 
he considers and calls, in season and out of season, 
Poe s moral delinquencies and mendacity. 1 In a re 
view of Mrs. Botta s (Miss Anne Charlotte Lynch s) 
Memoirs, he writes : 

" The best preparation for reading these Memoirs 
of Mrs. Botta is a glance over the first forty or fifty 
names in the series of papers which Edgar Allan Poe 
contributed, in 1845, to * The Lady s Book of L. 
A. Godey. Familiar with the reputation of the ladies 
and gentlemen who figure in this list, my acquaintance 
with Mrs. Botta dates back only forty-four years, when, 
a timid young person of twenty-four, I was introduced 
into her salon, either by Dr. Rufus Wilmot Griswold, 
or by Mr. Bayard Taylor. I had scrawled some im 
mature verse, which Mr. Seba Smith and Mrs. Caro 
line M. Kirkland thought not entirely unworthy of the 
places which they gave it, one in < The Rover, a 

1 The Independent, Feb. i, 1894. 
VOL. I. 1 6 


little weekly, the other, in The Union Magazine, a 
monthly of larger size, with illustrations on wood and 
steel, mezzotints, if my memory is not at fault, by Mr. 
John Sartain. Mrs. Botta, who was then Miss Anne 
Charlotte Lynch, was known to me before the date I 
have specified through her poems in Graham s Maga 
zine and other periodicals, which were copied in 
The Evening Mirror, of which Mr. Nathaniel 
Parker Willis was editor-in-chief, and in The New 
York Tribune, the critical chair of which was filled 
by Mr. George Ripley. To meet this accomplished 
gentlewoman was a distinction, since in meeting her 
one met her friends, the least of whom was worth 
knowing. She lived, as nearly as I now recollect, on 
the south side of Ninth Street, not far from Fifth 
Avenue, and with her was her elderly mother and a 
young woman who is now Mrs. S. M. C. Ewer, and 
was a sister of Mr. Charles Congdon, a brilliant hu 
morist, whom I did not know until ten years later. 

" Who witnessed my awkward entrance into Miss 
Lynch s well-lighted parlor ? I have forgotten who 
they were. I only know that the night was a cold 
one ; late in November, I fancy, and that, chilled 
through and through, in spite of a thick cloak which I 
wore, I stooped and chafed my hands before her glow 
ing coal fire. Many a day passed before I heard the 
last story about my blundering gaucherie on that woful 
night, a gaucherie which worsened itself in the sharp 
eyes of Phyllis, who declared that she wondered at her 
foolish Corydon. The Willises were there, the poet 
who wrote * Scripture Sketches in his youth, and 
had written much versatile poetry ana prose since 
letters from all quarters of the world his second wife 
and his daughter Imogen. But before these I see Miss 


Lynch, tall, gracious, kindly, the woman that she re 
mained until the cold March morning two years ago 
when she wandered out into the worlds beyond this 
work-a-day world of ours. Present, also, were two 
of the swarming sisterhood of American singers, one 
elderly spinster Miss BogartJ who was remembered 
through one of her solemn lyrics, entitled, I think, 
He came too Late, and a more hopeful married wo 
man, whose songs were of a more cheerful cast. . . . 
" On a later occasion, early in the following spring, 
I met another singer of tender melodies. She came of 
a poetic family, for, besides herself, I can recall a 
sister who wrote fairly well. Born in Boston, child 
of a merchant there named Locke, Frances Sargent 
spent a portion of her girlhood where I passed my boy 
hood, in Hingham, Mass., where, in my seventh year, 
Mr. William Gilmore Simms improvised his Atalan- 
tis : A Tale of the Sea. Miss Locke married a 
painter named Osgood, with whom she sailed for Lon 
don, where he drew many celebrities, and she warbled 
her way into their affections, remembering her native 
land in her first book, A Wreath of Wild Flowers 
from New England. When I met this gentle lady, 
seven-and-thirty, or it may be, thirty-eight summers 
had touched her, lightly, as it seemed, but heavily, as 
it proved ; for, always fragile, she was in a decline, 
reminding her friends, after her soul had taken its flight, 
of Young s Narcissa, 

" She sparkled, exhaled and went to Heaven. 

Mrs. Osgood was a paragon. For, loved of all men 
who knew her, she was hated by no woman who ever 
felt the charm of her presence. Poe was enamored of 
her, felt or fancied that he was, which with him was the 


same thing. He dedicated a copy of verses to her, a 
trifle which had served the same purpose twice before. 
He concealed her name in an effusion of twenty lines, 
and he reviewed her in his glowing fashion, and no one 
disputed the accuracy of his verdict, in her case. But 
Poe had a rival in her affections in Dr. Griswold, 
whom she transformed for the moment into an impas 
sioned poet. When Edgar Allan was drugged to 
death in Baltimore, about six months before the time 
of which I am writing, I scribbled some verse in his 
memory ; and she was good enough to think some of 
it not unworthy of its theme. She died a fevv weeks 
later. . . . 

" I return to the list of names in Poe s Literati of 
New York City, and recover others whom I saw at 
Miss Lynch s evenings at home. Constantly there 
was Mr. W. M. Gillespie, a mathematician of emi 
nence, who stammered in his speech ; Dr. J. W. 
Francis, who knew and was known to everybody, a 
florid gentleman with flowing white locks ; and Ralph 
Hoyt. Then came Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, poetess, 
writer of stories, and, later, of three or four novels ; 
and next Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. Embury, Miss Sedg- 
wick, Mrs. Hewitt, Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith, and 
Dr. Thomas Ward, who, under the Horatian signa 
ture of Flaccus celebrated Passaic,. a Group of 
Poems Touching that River, with other Poems. 

" Greater names were those of Bryant and Halleck, 
and one lesser, in the person of the bard who entreated 
the woodman to spare the tree [G. P. Morris]." 

In her interesting "Introductory Letter" prefixed 
to Mr. E. L. Didier s " Life and Poems of Edgar 
Allan Poe " (W. J. Widdleton : 1876), Mrs. Whit 
man writes : 


"During the whole of the winter 1845-46, he 
was residing in the city of New York I think in 
Amity Street. He was, at that time, a frequent visitor 
and ever- welcome guest at the houses of many persons 
v/ith whom I have long been intimately acquainted 
among others, the Hon. John R. Bartlett . . . and 
Miss Anne C. Lynch, now Mrs. Botta who were 
accustomed to receive informally at their houses, on 
stated evenings, the best intellectual society of the city. 
To reinforce my memory on the subject, I have just 
referred to letters received from various correspondents 
in New York, during the winters of 1845 and 1846, 
in all of which the name of the poet frequently 

"In one of these letters, dated January 20, 1846, 
the writer says : Speaking of our receptions, I must 
tell you what a pleasant one we had on Saturday even 
ing, in Waverley Place; or rather I will tell you the 
names of some of the company, and you will know, 
among others, that of Cassius Clay, Mr. Hart, the 
sculptor, who is doing Henry Clay in marble ; Hal- 
leek, Locke (the Man in the Moon), Hunt, of the 
" Merchant s Magazine " ; Hudson, Mr. Bellows, 
Poe, Headley, Miss Sedgwick, Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. 
Osgood, Mrs. Seba Smith, Mrs. Ellet, and many 
others more or less distinguished. 

" One of these letters, in which the date of the year 
is wanting, alludes to a controversy, which took place 
at one of the soirees between Margaret Fuller (Ossoli) 
and Poe, about some writer whom, in her lofty, auto 
cratic way, the lady had been annihilating. Miss 
Fuller was then writing critical papers for the New 
York Tribune. Poe, espousing the cause of the 
vanquished, with a few keen, incisive rejoinders, ob- 


tained such ascendancy over the eloquent and orac 
ular woman, that somebody whispered, The Raven 
has perched upon the casque of Pallas, and pulled all 
the feathers out of her cap. 

"In another letter, dated January 7, 1846, I find 
the following : I meet Mr. Poe very often at the re 
ceptions. He is the observed of all observers. His 
stories are thought wonderful, and to hear him repeat 
" The Raven," which he does very quietly, is an event 
in one s life. People seem to think there is something 
uncanny about him, and the strangest stories are told, 
and, what is more, believed, about his mesmeric ex 
periences, at the mention of which he always smiles. 
His smile is captivating ! . . . Everybody wants to 
know him ; but only a few people seem to get well 
acquainted with him/ 

"This was in the spring of 1846, when Poe was at 
the very acme of his literary and social success among 
the literati of New York." 

And how, one may ask, did Poe comport himself 
among the illuminati of this defunct and mutually ad 
miring generation ? 

" As a conversationist," remarks Mrs. Whitman, 
" we do not remember his equal. We have heard 
the veteran Landor (called by high authority the best 
talker in England) discuss with scathing sarcasm the 
popular writers of the day, convey his political ani 
mosities by fierce invectives on the pretentious cox 
comb Albert and the cunning knave Napoleon, or 
describe, in words of strange depths and tenderness, 
the peerless charm of goodness, and the naive social 
graces in the beautiful mistress of Gore House, the 
most gorgeous Lady Blessington. We have heard 
the Howadji talk of the gardens of Damascus till the 


air seemed purpled and perfumed with its roses. We 
have listened to the trenchant and vivid talk of the 
Autocrat ; to the brilliant and exhaustless colloquial 
resources of John Neal and Margaret Fuller. We 
have heard the racy talk of Orestes Brownson in the 
old days of his freedom and power, have listened to 
the serene wisdom of Alcott, and treasured up memo 
rable sentences from the golden lips of Emerson. Un 
like the conversational power evinced by any of these, 
was the earnest, opulent, unpremeditated speech of 
Edgar Poe. 

"Like his writings, it presented a combination of 
qualities rarely met within the same person, a cool, 
decisive judgment, a wholly unconventional courtesy 
and sincere grace of manner, and an imperious enthu- 
.siasm, which brought all hearers within the circle of its 

"J. M. Daniel, Esq., United States Minister at 
Turin, who knew Poe well during the last years of his 
life, says of him : His conversation was the very 
best we have ever listened to. We have never heard 
any so suggestive of thought, or any from which one 
gained so much. On literary criticism it was the 
essence of correct and profound criticism divested of 
all formal pedantries and introductory ideas the 
kernel clear of the shell. He was not a brilliant talker 
in the common, after-dinner sense of the word ; he 
was not a maker of fine points, or a frequent sayer of 
funny things. What he said was prompted entirely 
by the moment, and seemed uttered for the pleasure 
of uttering it. In his animated moods he talked with 
an abstracted earnestness, as if he were dictating to an 
amanuensis ; and, if he spoke of individuals, his ideas 
ran upon their moral and intellectual qualities, rather 


than upon the idiosyncrasies of their active, visible 
phenomena, or the peculiarities of their manner. 

" We have said that the charm of his conversation 
consisted in its genuineness^ its wonderful directness, 
and sincerity. We believe, too, that, in the artistic 
utterance of poetic emotion, he was at all times passion 
ately genuine. His proud reserve, his profound 
melancholy, his unworldliness may we not say his 
unearihlincss of nature made his character one very 
difficult of comprehension to the casual observer. The 
complexity of his intellect, its incalculable resources, 
and his masterly control of those resources when 
brought into requisition for the illustration of some 
favorite theme or cherished creation, led to the current 
belief that its action was purely arbitrary, that he could 
write without emotion or earnestnes* at the deliberate 
dictation of the will." 1 

The year 1846 was the beginning of Foe s "de 
scent" into the moral and physical "Maelstrom," 
in which he was finally swallowed up. All his bril 
liant literary and social successes had been in vain, 
had proved incapable of lifting him to a prosperous 
plane, had made him indeed only a shining mark 
for malice and malignity. 

" In his white ideal 
All statue-blind." 

Even while he was frequenting these delightful 
salons, with his gentle Virginia by his side, he was 
personally and anatomically studying its frequenters 
with a view to presenting them in full-length life-like 

1 Mrs. Whitman, " Edgar Poe," Sec., pp. 36-38. 


portraits for the fashionable journal of a neighboring 

"In the series of papers which I now propose," 
he writes, in his Introduction, " my design is, in giving 
my own unbiassed opinion of the literati (male and 
female) of New York, to give at the same time very 
closely, if not with absolute accuracy, that of conver 
sational society in literary circles. It must be expected, 
of course, that, in innumerable particulars, I shall differ 
from the voice, that is to say, what appears to be the 
voice, of the public ; but this is a matter of no conse 
quence whatever. 

" New York literature maybe taken as a fair repre 
sentation of that of the country at large. The city is 
itself the focus of American letters. Its authors include, 
perhaps, one-fourth of all in America, and the in 
fluence they exert on their brethren, if seemingly 
silent, is not the less extensive and decisive. As I 
shall have to speak of many individuals, my limits will 
not permit me to speak of them otherwise than in brief; 
but this brevity will be merely consistent with the de 
sign, which is that of simple opinion, with little of 
either argument or detail. With one or two excep 
tions, I am well acquainted with every author to be 
introduced. . . . Each individual is introduced abso 
lutely at random." 

Thirty-eight of these accomplished gentlemen and 
gentlewomen of a past generation pass panoramically 
before us, make their brief curtsy, and, as briefly, 
pass into the oblivion devoted to the Dilettanti. Poe s 
manner is sharp, French, epigrammatic ; the crisp dis 
tinction of his style, the absolutely lucid form of his 
statement in these papers, has never been surpassed and 
seldom equalled ; and yet he contrives to bring within 


it just enough of the vanishing personality of his subject 
to pique attention and avoid offence. 

Only a few reputations were assailed by the critic : 
coarse personalities were altogether absent ; the women 
were treated with chivalrous respect and discrimina 
tion even the dreaded Margaret Fuller was discussed 
with Castilian courtesy ; and the fellow-journalists . 
Briggs, Willis, Colton, Hoffman, Locke were al 
most universally appreciated and praised. Notes of 
discord sounded in the case of Aldrich and " Thomas 
Dunn Brown " and Lewis Gaylord Clark. " Mr. 
Clark, as a literary man, has about him no determin- 
ateness, no distinctiveness, no saliency of point; an 
apple, in fact, or a pumpkin has more angles. He is 
as smooth as oil, or a sermon from Dr. Hawkes ; he 
is noticeable for nothing in the world except for the 
markedness by which he is noticeable for nothing. " 

Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Child, Miss Sedgwick, Miss Bo- 
gart, Miss Lynch, Mrs. Embury, Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. 
Stephens, Mrs. Gore, Mrs. Hewitt, Mrs. Mowatt, 
and Margaret Fuller are the " immortelles " beaded 
on Poe s eternal scroll; Halleck, Willis, and Fenno 
Hoffman (founder of "The Knickerbocker") are 
the only poets still distinguishable from the throng of 
minor contemporaries. 

It is a curious fact that the two great historic foes 
of this period of American literature should also have 
been the Supreme Court of the time for the adjudica 
tion of literary reputations. Griswold revelled in an 
thologies, in volumes of prose and poetical selections, 
in old-fashioned florilegiums and "elegant extracts" 
sealed with the seven seals of Solomon s wisdom. Poe 
was the taster and tester in these cellars of Amon 
tillado, often delicately and derisively sceptical of its 


being Amontillado at all. Both men were phenomenally 
industrious, and both have left monuments of erudi 
tion. Rivals even in their surreptitious loves, they 
worked shoulder to shoulder in the bustling forties amid 
the noise of presidential campaigns and the far-off mut- 
terings of the Mexican War ; and the one bequeathed 
his reputation to the other to be ravenously de 
voured ! Gris wold s cohort of friends Horace 
Greeley, Raymond, Hoffman, Donald G. Mitchell, 
Bayard Taylor, C. G. Leland, the Carys, James T. 
Fields, etc., was offset by Poe s cohort of foes made 
in his self-imposed task as a censor morum of more 
than Catonian severity. Vermont and Virginia were 
certainly reflected in their temperaments : the one 
keen, cold, incisive, indefatigable, resourceful, devot 
ing an entire lifetime to the altruistic presentation of 
others claims to literary recognition, a Dryasdust of a 
superior kind whose labors in collecting and in com 
mentary were informed by an intelligent spirit, if not 
by a flaming zeal ; the other, warm, imaginative, 
high-strung, impelled by an irresistible genius that never 
let him rest, imperiously creative, haughtily egotistic, 
forced rather to the presentation of his own claims than 
to the recognition of others. 





THE sensation caused by the successive issues of 
" The Literati " was very great, and when the series 
reached "Thomas Dunn Brown " [English], a violent 
explosion ensued. English published in " The Even 
ing Mirror" (then managed by Fuller & Co.) a 
libellous and slanderous article, full of filth and inde 
cency, accusing Poe of forgery, theft, and drunkenness : 
"he is not alone thoroughly unprincipled, base, and 
depraved, but silly, vain, and ignorant, not alone an 
assassin in morals, but a quack in literature," etc., etc. 

It is needless to say that Poe brought suit and re 
covered damages for defamation of character. The 
old gentleman (author of "Ben Bolt" and ex-mem 
ber of the United States Congress) died in Newark 
April i, 1902. 

The controversy, 1 coarse and abusive as it was on 
both sides, had one good consequence for Poe : it re 
sulted in a verdict of $225 in his favor, the costs and 
all running up a bill of $492 for the other party. 
With this money, apparently, Poe furnished the little 

1 English s letter appeared in the New York Mirror of June 23 
July 13, 1846, and Poe s reply in the Philadelphia Spirit of the 
Times July 10, 1846. See Vol. II. p. 233, 


Dutch cottage at Fordham, Westchester Co., New 
York, a suburb of the city, whither he now moved 
from Amity Street. 

Mr. F. M. Hopkins thus describes the little home 
in "The Review of Reviews " for April, 1896 : 

"At the top of Fordham Hill, on the Kingsbridge 
Road, in the recently annexed or northern district of 
New York City, is a little old Dutch cottage known to 
fame as the home of Edgar Allan Poe during the last 
four [three ?] years of his life. The building is a small 
one containing only three rooms, a porch extending 
along its entire front, and standing with its gable end 
to the street. Instead of being clapboarded, it was 
shingled, as was customary in the early days in which 
it was built, making a good specimen of the dignified 
little homes that dotted northern New York, but which 
have almost wholly disappeared before the march of 
modern improvements. 

"In Foe s time the cottage was pleasantly situated 
on a little elevation in a large open space, with cherry- 
trees about it. Many literary workers of his day visited 
him here, and mention was quite frequently made of 
the cosy home which Virginia Poe made, notwithstand 
ing her limited means and contracted quarters. The sur 
roundings have somewhat changed with passing years. 
The cherry-trees are gone, and neighboring houses 
elbow the cottage quite closely, but the poet s old home 
remains the same as a half century ago, aside from the 
neglect of recent years. 

" The hallway entrance leads directly to the main 
room of the house, a good-sized, cheerful apartment 
with four windows, two opening on the porch. Be 
tween these stood the poet s table, at which much of 
his reading and editorial work was done. In the little 


sleeping-room facing towards the street, Virginia died. 1 
At the left of the little hallway is an old-fashioned 
winding staircase to the attic above. In this low- 
roofed room Poe had a writing-table and his meagre 
library. Here in seclusion his more ambitious work 
was done. The musical Bells/ the pathetic An 
nabel Lee, the weird Ulalume/ and the enig 
matic Eureka/ as well as some of his best fiction 
were written here." 

Hither, then, came the poet in the early summer of 
1846, while the " Literati " excitement was raging, 
and here doubtless many of the articles were written. 

Mrs. Whitman, in a few words describing these 
"lonesome latter years," paints graphically the charm 
of the new residence : 

"It is well known to those acquainted with the 
parties, that the young wife of Edgar Poe [she was 
only twenty-four or five] died of lingering consump 
tion, which manifested itself even in her girlhood. 
All who have had opportunities for observation in the 
matter have noticed her husband s tender devotion to 
her during her prolonged illness. ... It is true that, 
notwithstanding her vivacity and cheerfulness at the 
time we have alluded to, her health was even then 
rapidly sinking ; and it was for her dear sake, and for 
the recovery of that peace which had been so fatally 
perilled amid the irritations and anxieties of his New 
York life, that Poe left the city, and removed to the 
little Dutch cottage in Fordham, where he passed the 
three remaining years of his life. It was to this quiet 
haven, in the beautiful spring of 1846, when the 
fruit-trees were all in bloom and the grass in its 

1 She died, according to all descriptions, upstairs, in a room 
where the ceiling sloped. 


freshest verdure, that he brought his Virginia to die. 
Here he watched her failing breath in loneliness and 
privation through many solitary moons, until, on a deso 
late, dreary day of the ensuing winter, he saw her 
remains borne from beneath its lowly roof to a neighbor 
ing cemetery. It was towards the close of the year 
following her death, his most " immemorial year, " 
that he wrote the strange threnody of " Ulalume." 
This poem, perhaps the most original and weirdly sug 
gestive of all his poems, resembles at first sight some of 
Turner s landscapes, being apparently without form 
and void, and having darkness on the face of it. It 
is, nevertheless, in its basis, although not in the precise 
correspondence of time, simply historical. Such was 
the poet s lonely midnight walk ; such, amid the deso 
late memories and sceneries of the hour, was the new 
born hope enkindled within his heart at sight of the 
morning star 

" * Astarte s bediamonded crescent 

coming up as the beautiful harbinger of love and hap 
piness yet awaiting him in the untried future ; and 
such the sudden transition of feeling, the boding dread, 
that supervened on discovering that which had at first 
been unnoted that it shone, as if in mockery or in 
warning, directly over the sepulchre of the lost Ula 

" A writer in the * London Critic, after quoting 
the opening stanzas of Ulalume, says : < These to 
many will appear only words. But what wondrous 
words ! What a spell they wield ! What a withered 
unity there is in them ! The instant they are uttered, 
a misty picture, with a tarn dark as a murderer s eye 
below, and the thin yellow leaves of October fluttering 


above, exponents of a misery which scorns the 
name of sorrow, is hung up in the chambers of 
your soul forever. 

An English writer, now living in Paris [1860], 
the author of some valuable contributions to our 
American periodicals, passed several weeks at the little 
cottage in Fordham in the early autumn of 1847, and 
described to us, with a truly English appreciativeness, 
its unrivalled neatness, and the quaint simplicity of its 
interior and surroundings. It was at the time bordered 
by a flower-garden, whose clumps of rare dahlias and 
brilliant beds of fall flowers showed, in the careful cul 
ture bestowed upon them, the fine floral taste of the 

"An American writer who visited the cottage dur 
ing the summer of the same year [1847], described 
it as half buried in fruit-trees, and having a thick grove 
of pines in its immediate neighborhood. The prox 
imity of the railroad, and the increasing population of 
the little village, have since wrought great changes in 
the place. Round an old cherry-tree, near the door, 
was a broad bank of greenest turf. The neighboring 
beds of mignonette and heliotrope, and the pleasant 
shade above, made this a favorite seat. Rising at four 
o clock in the morning for a walk to the magnificent 
Aqueduct bridge over Harlem River, our informant 
found the poet, with his mother, standing on the turf 
beneath the cherry-tree, eagerly watching the move 
ments of two beautiful birds that seemed contemplating 
a settlement in its branches. He had some rare tropi 
cal birds in cages, which he cherished and petted with 
assiduous care. Our English friend described him as 
giving to his birds and his flowers a delighted atten 
tion that seemed quite inconsistent with the gloomy 


and grotesque character of his writings. A favorite 
cat, too, enjoyed his friendly patronage ; and often, 
when he was engaged in composition, it seated itself 
on his shoulder, purring as in complacent approval of 
the work proceeding under its supervision. 

"During Mr. Poe s residence at Fordham, a walk 
to High Bridge was one of his favorite and habitual 
recreations. The water of the Aqueduct is conveyed 
across the river on a range of lofty granite arches, 
which rise to the height of 145 feet above high- water 
level. On the top a turfed and grassy road, used only 
by foot-passengers and flanked on either side by a low 
parapet of granite, makes one of the finest promenades 

"The winding river, and the high, rocky shores at 
the western extremity of the bridge, are seen to great 
advantage from this lofty avenue. In the last melan 
choly years of his life the lonesome latter years 
Poe was accustomed to walk there at all times of 
the day and night, often pacing the then solitary path 
way for hours without meeting a human being. A 
little to the east of the cottage rises a ledge of rocky 
ground, partly covered with pines and cedars, com 
manding a fine view of the surrounding country, and 
of the picturesque college of St. John s, which had at 
that time in its neighborhood venerable old trees. This 
rocky ledge was also one of the poet s favorite resorts. 
Here through the long summer days, and through 
solitary, star-lit nights, he loved to sit, dreaming his 
gorgeous waking dreams, or pondering the deep prob 
lems of The Universe, that grand prose poem 
to which he devoted the last and maturest energies of 
his wonderful intellect." 

Along with the "Literati" sketches of this sum* 
VOL. i. 17 


mer went "The Philosophy of Composition/ and 
instalments of Marginalia" to "Graham s and 
"The Democratic Review," for collecting and pub 
lishing which Poe has been taunted by a recent biog 
rapher, because some of them consisted of paragraphs 
already used in his printed reviews of this or that 
notability or nonentity. The fact is, that the 
"Marginalia" and the neglected " Pinakidia " of 
the early "Southern Literary Messenger" are among 
the most interesting products of Poe s mind, giving his 
most intimate thoughts about men and things, treasur 
ing his favorite quotations from a wide world of read 
ing, and singling out remarkable sayings such as one 
finds imbedded in the prose of Pascal or the maxims 
of La Rochefoucauld. In them Poe often strikingly 
exemplifies his powers of sarcasm, satire, pith and epi 
gram, not to speak of his sardonic humor a mental 
feature altogether denied Poe by one of his most sym 
pathetic critics James Hannay. 1 "He has, for in 
stance, no Humor had little sympathy with the 
various forms of human life. But he is perfectly poetic 
in his own province. If his circle was a narrow, it was 
a magic one. His poetry is sheer poetry, and bor 
rows nothing from without, as Didactic Poetry does. 
For Didactic Poetry he had a very strong and very 
justifiable dislike." 

This same critic singularly errs when he says (in 
the first of the following sentences) : " Traces of 
spiritual emotion are not to be found there [in his 
youthful poems] . Sorrow there is, but not divine 
sorrow. There is not any approach to the Holy 
to the Holiness which mingles with all Tennyson s 

1 The Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe, by James Hannay : 
London, 1863. 


poetry as the Presence with the Wine. And yet, 
when you view his poems simply as poems, this char 
acteristic does not make itself felt as a Want. It 
would seem as if he had only to deal with the Beauti 
ful as a human aspirant. His soul thirsted for the 
supernal loveliness. That thirst was to him Reli 
gion all the Religion you discover in him. But if 
we cannot call him religious, we may say that he sup 
plies the materials to worship. You want flowers and 
fruit for your altar; and wherever Poe s muse has 
passed, flowers and fruits are fairer and brighter. 

(f With all this passion for the Beautiful, no poet 
was ever less voluptuous. He never profaned his 
genius whatever else he profaned. Irene, Ula- 
lume, Lenore, < Annabel Lee, Annie, are all 
gentle, and innocent, and fairy-like. A sound of music 

rising as from an unseen Ariel brings in a most 
pure and lovely figure, sad, usually ; so delicate and 
dreamy are these conceptions, that, indeed, they hint 
only of some transcendent beauty some region 
where passion has no place, where 

" Music, and moonlight, and feeling are one, 

as Shelley says. 

"Poe loved splendour he delighted in the gorgeous 

in ancient birth in tropical flowers in southern 
birds in castellated dwellings. The hero of his 
Raven sits on a violet velvet lining ; they have 
crested palls. He delighted, as Johnson said of 
Collins, to gaze on the magnificence of golden pal 
aces, to repose by the waterfalls of Elysian gardens. 
His scenery is everywhere magnificent. His Genius 
is always waited upon with the splendour of an Ori 
ental monarch." 


The " Marginalia" of which we have been speak 
ing were in all likelihood paragraphs originally trans 
ferred from Poe s note-books to this or that review as 
occasion called for them, and then reclaimed from 
these reviews for an independent purpose, later. 

"We know now that the charge," says Mr. Ap- 
pleton Morgan, "that Poe resold his manuscripts is a 
lie, circumstantially nailed by the publisher, still fortu 
nately living, from whose reminiscences the allegation 
originated. This publisher did, it seems, pay Poe 
three times for three versions of The Bells, himself 
insisting on so doing, because the poems were substan 
tially distinct pieces. The statement that Poe stole 
the theme, metre, rhythm, and technique of The 
Raven from a certain lunatic in a certain madhouse 
has also fallen to the ground, it having been ascer 
tained that there never was either such a lunatic or 
such a madhouse. 

" The truth is, perhaps, that Poe s greatest crime 
was his poverty often abject, and always extreme." 

Echoes of this misery reverberated pathetically 
through the Griswold correspondence. "I know 
nothing of the Poe family," writes Miss M. L. Sew- 
ard to Mrs. Osgood, New York, November 23d, 
1846, "except that they are in great poverty." 

"The Poes are in the same state of physical and 
pecuniary suffering indeed worse, than they were last 
summer," writes Mrs. M. E. Hewitt to the same 
correspondent, under date of December 20, 1846; 
" for now the cold weather is added to their accumu 
lation of ills. I went to inquire of Mr. Post [publisher 
of the "Columbian Magazine"] about them. He 
confirmed all that I had previously heard of their 
condition. Although he says Mrs. Clemm has never 


told him they were in want, yet she borrows a shilling 
often, to get a letter from the office but Mrs. Gove 
has been to see the Poes and found them living in the 
greatest wretchedness. I am endeavoring to get up a 
contribution for them among the editors, and the 
matter has got into print very much to my regret, 
as I fear it will hurt Foe s pride to have his affairs 
made so public." 

Almost the last day of this distressful year (De 
cember 29th), Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote to 
Griswold : 

" I hope you will do whatever you can to favor 
Mr. Poe in the matter of which he spoke to you in 
his letter. . . . T have always thought Mr. Poe en 
tertained a favorable opinion of me since he taught me 
how to scan one of my own poems. And I am not 
ashamed, though it may be very unphilosophical, to 
be grateful for his good opinion, and even venture to 
hope that he may find something to approve in one or 
two of my last poems." 

Poe was only too eager to welcome young talent 
like that of Holmes, Bayard Taylor, the Davidson 
sisters, and others ; even from the depths of his black 
est misery he had evidently written for a copy of 
Holmes s poems with a view to a notice of them. 

Mrs. Gove-Nichols (whom, as Mrs. Gove, Poe 
had reviewed sympathetically in "The Literati") 
gives us a pathetic glimpse of Poe and of Virginia s last 
month about this time : 

" Poe s voice was melody itself. He always spoke 
low, when in a violent discussion, compelling his hear 
ers to listen if they would know his opinion, his facts, 
fancies, or philosophy, or his weird imaginings. These 
last usually flowed from his pen, seldom from his tongue, 


" On this occasion I was introduced to the young 
wife of the poet, and to the mother, then more than 
sixty years of age. She was a tall, dignified old lady, 
with a most lady-like manner, and her black dress, 
though old and much worn, looked really elegant on 
her. She wore a widow s cap, of the genuine pattern, 
and it suited excellently with her snow-white hair. 
Her features were large, and corresponded with her 
stature, and it seemed strange how such a stalwart and 
queenly woman could be the mother of her petite 
daughter. Mrs. Poe looked very young ; she had large 
black eyes, and a pearly whiteness of complexion which 
was a perfect pallor. Her pale face, her brilliant eyes, 
and her raven hair, gave her an unearthly look. One 
felt that she was almost a dissolved spirit, and when 
she coughed it was made certain that she was rapidly 
passing away. 

" The mother seemed hale and strong, and appeared 
to be a sort of universal Providence to her strange 

" The cottage had an air of taste and gentility that 
must have been lent to it by the presence of its inmates. 
So neat, so poor, so unfurnished, and yet so charming, 
a dwelling I never saw. The floor of the kitchen 
was white as wheaten flour. A table, a chair, and a 
little stove that it contained, seemed to furnish it com 
pletely. The sitting-room floor was laid with check 
matting ; four chairs, a light stand, and a hanging 
book-shelf composed its furniture. There were pretty 
presentation copies of books on the little shelves, and 
the Brownings had posts of honour on the stand. With 
quiet exultation Poe drew from his side-pocket a letter 
he had recently received from Elizabeth Barrett (Brown 
ing). He read it to us. It was very flattering. She 


told Poe that his " poem of the Raven had awakened 
a fit [of] horror in England. This was what he loved 
to do." 1 . . . 

"The autumn came, and Mrs. Poe sank rapidly in 
consumption," continues Mrs. Gove-Nichols. "I 
saw her in her bed-chamber. Everything here was so 
neat, so purely clean, so scant and poverty-stricken, 
that I saw the poor sufferer with such a heart-ache. 
. . . There was no clothing on the bed, which was 
only straw, but a snow-white counterpane and sheets. 
The weather was cold, and the sick lady had the 
dreadful chills that accompany the hectic fever of 
consumption. She lay on the straw-bed, wrapped in 
her husband s great-coat, with a large tortoise-shell cat 
in her bosom. The wonderful cat seemed conscious 
of her great usefulness. The coat and the cat were 
the sufferer s only means of warmth ; except as her 
husband held her hands, and her mother her feet. 

" Mrs. Clemm was passionately fond of her daugh 
ter, and her distress on account of her illness and 
poverty was dreadful to see. 

" As soon as I was made aware of these painful 
facts, I came to New York and enlisted the sympa 
thies and services of a lady, whose heart and hand 
were ever open to the poor and miserable. A feather 
bed and abundance of bed-clothing and other comforts 
were the first-fruits of my labour of love. The lady 
headed a private subscription, and carried them $60 
the next week. From the day this kind lady saw the 
suffering family of the poet, she watched over them as 
a mother watches over her babe. She saw them 
often, and ministered to the comfort of the dying and 
the living. 2 

1 Ingram, II., p. 91. z Ibid., p. 97. 


This angel of mercy was Marie Louise Shew (after 
wards Mrs. Houghton), to whom Poe addressed the 
beautiful lines in "The Home Journal" for March 
13, 1847: 

TO M. L. S 

Of all who hail thy presence as the morning ; 

Of all to whom thy absence is the night, 

The blotting utterly from out high heaven 

The sacred sun ; of all who, weeping, bless thee 

Hourly for hope, for life, ah ! above all, 

For the resurrection of deep-buried faith 

In truth, in virtue, in humanity ; 

Of all who, on despair s unhallowed bed 

Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen 

At thy soft-murmured words, " Let there be 

light !" 

At the soft-murmured words that were fulfilled 
In the seraphic glancing of thine eyes ; 
Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude 
Nearest resembles worship, oh, remember, 
The truest, the most fervently devoted, 
And think that these weak lines are written by him : 
By him, who, as he pens them, thrills to think 
His spirit is communing with an angel s. 

In March, 1 848, Poe again addressed the passion 
ate lines " To ," beginning : 

" Not long ago the writer of these lines, 
In the mad pride of intellectuality, 
Maintained the power of words " 

to this same lady, thus evincing his eternal gratitude 
for her goodness to his dying wife. It is to her that 
we owe the first suggestion of " The Bells," 


/ v / 

01 W- HvAAl sto^kifU "> 

si* 1&LC4** 

/e ^ w m *+ . 

c4 ^T^JL. So 

i - 

/id ri Ui. t 



The pitiable condition of the family got into print : 
the ever-ready Willis heard of it and printed an ap 
peal in "The Home Journal" for help; which 
brought forth a painful protest from Poe at thus having 
his private affairs thrust upon the public. He might 
die of starvation, like Otway and Spenser, but he did 
not wish the public to know anything about it. Thirty 
days after his letter of protest was written Virginia ac 
tually did die, January 30, 1847. 

The day before the sad event he wrote as follows 
to Mrs. Shew : 

FORDHAM, Jan. 29, 47. 

KINDEST DEAREST FRIEND My poor Virginia yet 
lives, although failing fast and now suffering much pain. 
May God grant her life until she sees you and thanks you 
once again ! Her bosom is full to overflowing like my 
own with a boundless inexpressible gratitude to you. 
Lest she may never see you more she bids me say that 
she sends you her sweetest kiss of love and will die bless 
ing you. But come oh, come to-morrow ! Yes ! I 
will be calm everything you so nobly wish to see me. 
My mother sends you, also, her " warmest love and 
thanks." She begs me to ask you, if possible, to make 
arrangements at home so that you may stay with us to 
morrow night. I enclose the order to the Postmaster. 
Heaven bless you and farewell, 

EDGAR A. PoE. 1 

Mrs. Shew attended to the last sad rites of the dead, 
and Virginia was temporarily placed in the family vault 
of the Valentines, in the Reformed Church at Ford- 

Any one who remembers the awful vividness with 
which Poe has depicted the slow consuming away of 

1 Ingram, II., p. 107. 


a beloved one through a lingering illness, in the illumi 
nated pages of " Ligeia," "Morella" and " Eleo- 
nora " lit by sepulchral lamps, wherein every footfall 
of the approach of " The Conqueror Worm " is de 
lineated with muffled yet magical detail ; every one to 
whose soul have penetrated the melodious dirges of 
"Ulalume," "Lenore," and " The Raven," which 
assume in their writhings almost the agonizing grace of 
the Laocoon, must realize, faintly indeed yet sympa 
thetically, the abysmal grief into which this death must 
have plunged the greatest Artist of Death whom the 
world has ever seen, the man who most keenly and 
most wonderfully has conjured up its horrors before the 
quailing imagination and made them stand, instinct 
with their own quivering and hideous life, before the 
recoiling eye of the mind. The half-frantic mood of 
the time may be read in the mystic interlineations of 
" Ulalume," peeping between the lines of this mad 
yet most musical autobiographic poem that is wreathed 
with the opiate vapors of frenzy. 

" Deprived of the companionship and sympathy of 
his child- wife," writes a friendly biographer, 1 "the 
poet suffered what to him was the exquisite agony of 
utter loneliness. Night after night he would arise 
from his sleepless pillow, and, dressing himself, wan 
der to the grave of his lost one, and throwing him 
self down upon the cold ground, weep bitterly for 
hours at a time. 

" The same haunting dread which we have ven 
tured to ascribe to him at the time of his writing The 
Raven, possessed him now, and to such a degree that 
he found it impossible to sleep without the presence of 
some friend by his bedside. Mrs. Clemm, his ever- 

1 W. F. Gill, Chatto and Windus, London, 1878, 


devoted friend and comforter, more frequently fulfilled 
the office of watcher. The poet, after retiring, would 
summon her, and while she stroked his broad brow, 
he would indulge his wild flights of fancy to the 
Aidenn of his dreams. He never spoke nor moved 
in these moments, unless the hand was withdrawn 
from his forehead ; then he would say, with childish 
naivete, No, no, not yet ! while he lay with 
half-closed eyes. 

" The mother, or friend, would stay by him until 
he was fairly asleep, then gently leave him." 

The excesses to which the ruptured throat of his 
wife had impelled him in Philadelphia, and all through 
the five years preceding her death, with their alterna 
tions of hope and despair, now ended in a settled 
gloom that threatened his reason : henceforth Poe was 
a broken man, an unstrung harp wildly and wistfully 
singing of things long gone by, a " seraph-harper Is- 
rafel " that had lost his harp or sat discrowned and 
disconsolate among the asphodels. A few uneven 
things, a few weird and beautiful threnodies, and the 
great prose-poem tf Eureka," were practically all 
that Death and Grief had left him to utter, now that 
the inspiration of his life had gone and the home of his 
heart was built up against her tomb. A radiant joy 
indeed broke fitfully on the poet late in these latter 
years, but this, too, was doomed to extinction, and 
soon hung, like his trembling Astarte, directly over a 
grave. The excesses, brought on by extreme anguish 
and straitened circumstances, were only too real though 
never habitual, never baccbanalia of mere maudlin 
sensuality such as one reads of in the annals of drunken 
Elizabethans : they were the ups and downs, the un 
even tight-rope walking of a nature trying to balance 


itself amid impossible conditions and morbid neurotic 
states, wrung from its natural rectitude by overpower 
ing temptation to seek relief in stimulants coffee, 
wine, drugs, opium, anything that would soothe the 
intense malaise. Alas, how full of Verlaines and de 
Mussets and Baudelaires the world has been men 
like Poe, endowed w r ith preternaturally sensitive nerves, 
unable to grapple with the coarse flesh -and -blood 
around them, pierced on all sides by the slings and 
arrows of outrageous fortune, and succumbing at last to 
the superincumbent mass of misery. 

Poor little Virginia lay for many years in the bor 
rowed tomb, but now at last rests beside her husband 
in Westminster Church grave-yard, Baltimore, under 
neath the Poe monument. 





OWING to Mrs. Shew s untiring efforts, Poe s friends 
(including General Winfield Scott) raised about $100 
and helped to pay the debts incurred by long illness. 
He himself seems to have been desperately ill and un 
nerved for a long time after Virginia s death and never 
really recovered from the shock. A famous New York 
physician (Dr. Mott) diagnosed the case, apparently 
agreeing with Mrs. Shew (who had been medically 
educated and was a doctor s only daughter), that Poe 
was suffering from a lesion of one side of the brain 
which would not permit him to use stimulants or tonics 
without producing insanity. 

"I did not feel much hope," says the lady in her 
diary, 1 " that he could be raised up from brain fever 
brought on by extreme suffering of mind and body 
actual want and hunger, and cold having been borne 
by this heroic husband in order to supply food, medi 
cine, and comforts to his dying wife until exhaus 
tion and lifelessness were so near at every reaction of 
the fever, that even sedatives had to be administered 
with extreme caution." 

He clung pathetically to the little Dutch cottage, went 
out little and wrote less ; and yet this year of trouble 

1 Ingram, II., 115. 


is the one 1847 in which his great prose-poem 
of " Eureka " began to dawn on him as he walked 
the piazza, looked out on the immeasurable " field of 
the cloth of gold " of stars, and speculated eagerly and 
philosophically about its future. Again " The Stylus " 

his teasing evil genius crops up and impels him 
to lecture and work for funds for its resuscitation. 

That he was not wholly idle this almost fatal year, 
in spite of the long and depressing illnesses that re 
peatedly brought him to death s door, may be seen 
from the following unaddressed MS. letter in possession 
of the University of Virginia : 

NEW YORK, August 10, 1847. 

DEAR SIR, Permit me to thank you, in the first 
place, very sincerely, for your considerate kindness to me 
while in Philadelphia. Without your aid, at the precise 
moment and in the precise manner in which you rendered 
it, it is more than probable that I should not now be 
alive to write you this letter. Finding myself exceeding 
ill so much so that I had no hope except in getting 
home immediately I made several attempts to see Mr. 
Graham, and at last saw him for a few minutes just as he 
was about returning to Cape May. He was very friendly 

more so than I have ever known him, and requested 
me to write continuously for the Mag. As you were 
not present, however, and it was uncertain when I could 
see you, I obtained an advance of $10 from Mr. G. in 
order that I might return home at once and thinking it, 
also, more proper to leave you time in which to look over 
the articles. 

I would be deeply obliged if you could now give me 
an answer respecting them. Should you take both, it 
would render me, just now, the most important service. 
I owe Mr. G. about $50. The articles, at the old price 
($4 per page), will come to $190 so that, if you write 


me that they are accepted, I propose to draw on Mr. G. 
for $40 thus squaring our account. 

P. S, I settled my bill with Arbuckle before leav 
ing Phil., but am not sure how much I owe yourself for 
the previous bill, etc. 
Please let me know. 

Very gratefully your friend, 


The same "immemorial year" was sealed, in De 
cember, with the anonymous publication, in " The 
American Whig Review," of the mystic (f Ulalume," 
reprinted by Willis, at Poe s request, in " The Home 
Journal," with remarks on its "exquisitely piquant 
and skilful exercise of rarity and niceness of lan 
guage," " a curiosity in philologic flavor." The 
" Union Magazine " had rejected the poem, as other 
magazines or publishers had rejected or held up many 
of Poe s best things "The Sleeper," " The Gold- 
Bug," "The Bells," etc., and the "Tales" in 
volume form. 

Poe s work was so strange, so extraordinary, so 
original as it towered and sparkled in columnar beauty 
amid the flat commonplace of the time, that it is no 
wonder if editors were startled and looked askance, as 
they looked askance at "Jane Eyre," at Carlyle s 
"French Revolution," at Lamardne s "Jacqueline." 
j Willis was one of the few editors of the time who ap 
preciated Poe at his exact value, and gave him un 
stinted praise to the last. The rest gazed at him 
Graham, and, it may be, Lowell excepted as one 
might imagine the aborigines of Nubia gazing at the 
gorgeous bark of Cleopatra as it swept flashing down 
the Nile with all its oriental splendor and paraphernalia, 
a vision of light, perfume, and beauty. 


Dark as the year preceding this had been, it had 
shot a ray of sunshine athwart the poet s path before 
Virginia s death in the shape of hearty recognition 
abroad. About the time the Godey sketches were 
running out, and literary Manhattan began to breathe 
a sigh of relief, the " Revue des Deux Mondes" 
printed a highly appreciative review of the Tales of 
1845, which was followed by Mme. Gabrielle Men- 
nier s translation of the best of them. A disgraceful 
squabble indeed had arisen between two Parisian 
papers "Le Commerce " and " La Quotidienne " 
soon after the publication of " The Murders in the 
Rue Morgue," in April, 1841, in which it was 
shown that " Le Commerce " had stolen Poe s tale 
from the " Charivari," and republished it as an 
original feuilleton under the title of " L Orang-Otang." 
This, in turn, was stolen by " La Quotidienne " 
and transferred to its columns ; whereupon a lawsuit 
ensued, when the source of the theft was shown to be 
Poe s tale published shortly before in "Graham s." 

And now, recently, a writer in " Notes and 
Queries" (May 12, 1894) comes forward to show 
that Poe probably stole his tale from an incident re 
corded in the " Shrewsbury Chronicle," apropos of 
" a ribbon-faced baboon " that had been taught to 
"burgle" ! "The Case of M. Valdemar " was 
traced to one Miss Prevorst, the " William Wilson " 
to "The Man with Two Lives" (Boston, 1829), 
and to Calderon ; the germ of " Metzengerstein " 
was discovered in tf Vivian Grey," " Three Sundays 
in a Week" comes from Herschel s "Astronomy," 
" Hans Pfaall " is a free paraphrase of current scien 
tific works, and Bulwer and Disraeli have been abun 
dantly plundered for the rest ! 


Other rays of sunshine that fell before he died into 
his darkened life were the vogue and republication of 
some of his tales in England "The Fall of the 
House of Usher/ in "Bentley s," " The Purloined 
Letter," in Chambers " Edinburgh Journal," " Mes 
meric Revelation "and " The Case of M. Valdemar," 
in the London " Popular Record of Modern Science," 
and, of course, the Poems of 1845. 

Poe s transatlantic reputation may, indeed, as Pro 
fessor Trent l justly remarks, be regarded as a test of 
his value as a writer : " It is quite plain thatPoe is con 
sidered by competent European critics to be the greatest 
author America has yet produced. His tales at least 
have been translated into all the chief languages, and 
have been widely read and more or less imitated. His 
poems, if less well known, have perhaps been even 
more influential, their melody, their weirdness, their 
ideality having affected in considerable measure most 
modern lyrical poetry. . . . With the partial excep 
tion of Cooper, Poe is practically the only American 
since Franklin who has been accorded sincere and 
widespread homage in Europe for intellectual achieve 
ments other than scientific who has, in other words, 
been recognized as one of the world s master writers. 
Irving, Longfellow, Hawthorne, and other American 
authors have indeed been cordially received by British 
readers; but this is not the same thing as breaking 
down the barriers of language and winning the ap 
plause of the whole civilized world." 

It is an astounding circumstance that a mind so ap 
parently wrecked as Poe s was all through the weary 
months of 1847 months hyphened together by 

1 " Poe s Rank as a Writer," East and West, Aug. 1900. 
VOL. I. 18 


unalterable gloom from the death of Virginia, in Janu 
ary, to the apparition on the December horizon of the 
fantastic flame of" Ulalume " could have recovered 
vitality or even vivacity enough to meditate upon the 
deep themes of "Eureka," of the cosmogony of 
the Universe, of the destiny of the human soul and 
the fate of the circumambient matter ; but so it was. 

Poe s argumentative faculty attained perhaps its 
highest expression in "Eureka": the theme, in itself 
so abstract, so transcendental, burns and glows with a 
concrete radiance that seems to convince the reader 
that it is true light and not quagmire phosphorescence ; 
the suppleness of the poet s tongue never abandons 
him as he climbs the empyrean in his Excelsior flight 
and forces one stronghold after another of retreating 
Deity, talking volubly of Newton, Kepler, and La 
Place the while, until at last "Eureka!" bursts from 
his lips and he fancies he has found the Eternal. 

Having worked the book out through the long and 
hollow hours of 1 847 hollow from the full life of 
his sweet Virginia having left him he was ready 
with it as a lecture in the early months of 1848. His 
hope was to rent a hall and secure an audience of 
three or four hundred persons who would pay him 
sufficiently to start on a lecturing tour in the interests 
of " The Stylus " which now again sweeps up to 
the surface like the drowned face of Delacroix s 
maiden. Instead of three or four hundred, sixty per 
sons assembled in the hall of the Society Library, New 
York, and shivered through three hours of a bleak 
February night, listening, as one of them reported, to 
a " rhapsody of the most intense brilliancy. Poe ap 
peared inspired, and his inspiration affected the scant 
audience almost painfully. His eyes seemed to glow 


like those of his own Raven. : His true friend, 
Willis, so often abused as a mere dilettante dandy of 
literature, helped in this project as in so many others 
relating to Poe, and did what he could to further it : 
" My general aim is to start a Magazine [magazines, 
in that virgin soil and time were burgeoning all over 
the country] to be called the Stylus, " he wrote; 
" but it would be useless to me, even when established, 
if not entirely out of the control of a publisher. With 
this end in view, I must get a list of, at least, 500 
subscribers to begin with : nearly 200 I have al 
ready. I propose, however, to go South and West, 
among my personal and literary friends old college 
and West Point acquaintances and see what I can 
do. In order to get the means of taking the first step, 
I propose to lecture at the [New York Historical] So 
ciety Library on Thursday, the 3rd of February 
and that there may be no cause of squabbling my sub 
ject shall not be literary at all. I have chosen a broad 
text The Universe. 

The Lyceum system of lecturing so entertainingly , 
described by Edward Everett Hale in recent chapters 
of "James Russell Lowell and his Friends," was just 
then beginning its popular and fashionable career in 
New York and New England, and intelligent men and 
women were flocking to the lecture courses with pencil 
and note-book, eager to take down the words of inspir 
ation as they dropped from the lips of eloquent 
speakers. The Lowell foundation was one of the re 
sults of the movement which, according to Dr. Hale, 
was a sort of spill-over, protest or expansion from the 
Sunday lecture, secular topics, however dramatic or 
useful, not being allowed (as was right) in the Sunday 


Not disheartened at his poor success nor at the ab 
surdly caricatured accounts of the lecture in the public 
prints, Poe went bravely to work and wrote out the 
theory in book form, offering it, with flashing eyes and 
exuberant enthusiasm, to Mr. Putnam, the publisher 
of two of his books. He suggested an edition of 50,- 
ooo ; Mr. Putnam listened attentively, and ventured 
upon an edition of 500. 

The title, preface, etc., are as follows (we quote 
from a copy of the original edition) : 

Eureka: | A Prose Poem, | by | Edgar A. Poe. | 
New York: | Geo. P. Putnam, | of late Firm of "Wiley 
and Putnam," | 155 Broadway. | MDCCCXLVIII. 
With very Profound Respect, | This Work is Dedicated j 
to | Alexander Von Humboldt. 

Preface. To the few who love me and whom I 
love to those who feel rather than to those who 
think to the dreamers and those who put faith in 
dreams as in the only realities I offer this Book of 
Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for 
the Beauty that abounds in its Truth ; constituting it 
true. To these I present the composition as an Art- 
Product alone : let us say as a Romance ; or, if I 
be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem. 

What I here propound is true : therefore it can 
not die : or if by any means it be now trodden 
down so that it die, it will "rise again to the Life 

Nevertheless it is as a Poem only that I wish this 
work to be judged after I am dead. E. A. P. 

The book is bound in boards and contains about 
136 pages of text, outside of the preface,, dedication, 


and title-page. What Poe himself considered the gist 
of "Eureka" may be gathered from the following 
letter : 

NEW YORK, February 29, 1848. 


DEAR SIR, A press of business has hitherto prevented 
me from replying to your letter of the loth. "The Ves 
tiges of Creation " I have not yet seen ; and it is always 
unsafe and unwise to form opinions of books from reviews 
of them. The extracts of the work which have fallen in 
my way abound in inaccuracies of fact ; still these may 
not materially affect the general argument. One thing is 
certain j that the objections of merely scientific men 
men, I mean, who cultivate the physical sciences to the 
exclusion, in a greater or less degree, of the mathematics, 
of metaphysics and logic are generally invalid except 
in respect to scientific details. Of all persons in the 
world, they are at the same time the most bigoted and 
the least capable of using, generalizing or deciding upon 
the facts which they bring to light in the course of their 
experiments. And these are the men who chiefly write 
the criticisms against all efforts at generalization de 
nouncing these efforts as " speculative 11 and "theoretical." 

The notice of my lecture, which appeared in the " New 
\Vorld," was written by some one grossly incompetent 
to the task which he undertook. No idea of what I said 
can be gleaned from either that or any other of the news 
paper notices with the exception, perhaps, of the " Ex 
press" where the critique was written by a gentleman of 
much scientific acquirement, Mr. E. A. Hopkins, of 
Vermont. I enclose you his report, which, however, is 
inaccurate in numerous particulars. He gives my general 
conception so, at least, as not to caricature it. 

I have not yet published the lecture, but, when I do 
so, will have the pleasure of mailing you a copy. In the 
meantime, permit me to state succinctly my principal 


GENERAL PROPOSITION. Because nothing was, there 
fore all things are. 

1. An inspection of the universality of gravitation 
of the fact that each particle tends not to any one com 
mon point, but to every other particle, suggests perfect 
totality of absolute unity as the source of the phenomenon. 

2. Gravity is but the mode in which is manifested the 
tendency of all things to return into their original unity. 

3. I show that the law of the return ;. e., the law 
of gravity is but a necessary result of the necessary 
and sole possible mode of equable irradiation of matter 
through a limited space. 

4. Were the universe of stars (contradistinguished 
from the universe of space) unlimited, no worlds could 

5. I show that unity is nothingness. 

6. All matter, springing from unity sprang from 
nothingness, /. e. , was created. 

7. All will return to unity, / . e. , to nothingness. 

I would be obliged to you if you would let me know 
how far these ideas are coincident with those of the 
" Vestiges." 

Very resp y yr. ob. st., 


He had opened the discussion with words almost as 
solemn as the chords which prelude some divine sym 
phony: "Eureka: an Essay on the Material and 
Spiritual Universe. 

" It is with humility really unassumed it is with 
a sentiment even of awe that I pen the opening sen 
tence of this work : for of all conceivable subjects I 
approach the reader with the most solemn the most 
comprehensive the most difficult the most au 

" What terms shall I find sufficiently simple in 


their sublimity sufficiently sublime in their simplic 
ity for the mere enunciation of my theme ? 

" I design to speak of the Physical, Metaphysical 
and Mathematical of the Material and Spiritual 
Universe : of its Essence, its Origin, its Creation, 
its Present Condition and its Destiny. I shall be so 
rash, moreover, as to challenge the conclusions, and 
thus, in effect, to question the sagacity, of many of the 
greatest and most justly reverenced of men." 

Poe was a great admirer of Humboldt s " Cosmos," 
and he therefore dedicates to its author his famous 
tract " De Natura Rerum." Lucretius had written a 
wonderful poem in Latin hexameters on this topic, 
astonishing the ancient world by his elevated Epicure 
anism and passionate enthusiasm for what was true ; 
and there is more than one striking analogy between 
the Roman and the American. Both, in their poems, 
were passionate inconoclasts, idealists, dreamers of the 
speculative philosophies that looked into the causes of 
things ; both set aside what they considered the degrad 
ing superstitions, and reinstated Divinity in its rights. 
What a critic has well called "the impassioned solem 
nity " of Lucretius, is the religious, the almost rever 
ential, spirit with which Poe approaches the problem 
of the Universe. Both are refined materialists of an 
almost spiritual type. Lucretius s object was to clear 
the mind from the fear of the gods and the terrors of 
a future state, endeavoring to "show that the world 
is not governed by capricious agency, but has come 
into existence, continues in existence, and will ulti 
mately pass away in accordance with the primary 
conditions of the elemental atoms which, along with 
empty space, are the only eternal and immutable sub 
stances. That atoms are themselves infinite in num.- 


ber, but limited in their varieties, and by their ceaseless 
movement and combinations during infinite time and 
through infinite space the whole process of creation is 
maintained." Poe s object was not far different from 
Lucretius s in his abhorrence of superstition; and all 
that the critic has to say about Lucretius s power of 
reasoning the subtlety and fertility of invention with 
which he applies analogies, the keenness and clearness 
of his observation, the consecutive force, precision, 
and distinction of his style as employed in the processes 
of scientific exposition, are as if written of Poe. The 
Roman went mad from a love-philtre and committed 
suicide in his forty-fourth year ; the mixed elements 
of Poe s life his dangerous deliriums, his passionate 
loves, hates, and adorations brought him very near 
to Lucretius s fate. And both threw their sublime 
speculations into poem-form, the one into six or seven 
thousand sonorous Latin lines that roll majestically as 
ocean-surges on the shore, the other into a brilliant 
monologue which, but for the ill-judged burlesque 
element at its beginning, might be an oratorio of the 





(t HELEN my Helen the Helen of a thousand 
dreams ! " 

Such are the words, in one of Poe s impassioned 
letters to Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, which from 
now on form the key-note of his existence, an exist 
ence in which the love of woman, the adoration of 
the Womanly, had always formed an essential part. 
Starting with his devotion to the gentle Mrs. Allan, 
and to Mrs. Stanard, continuing with his adoration 
of his child-wife, and of his "more than mother, * > s / i 
concentrating into affectionate admiration for Mrs. 
Shew and Mrs. Osgood, all the love that was now 
left in Poe s volcanic nature rose to brief fever-heat in 
the passion for the beautiful and spiritual New Eng 
land soul that had 

" Come up through the lair of the Lion, 
With love in her luminous eyes," 

and smiled at him over the "legended tomb " of the 
lost Ulalume. 

Rarely gifted as a poet herself, accomplished in many 
literatures, imbued with the culture of France and 
Germany, and tracing descent from an ancient Celtic- 


Norman stock to which she believed Foe s lineage also 
ran up, Sarah Helen Power was born in Providence, 
Rhode Island, January 19 (Poe s birthday), 1803, 
and died June 27, 1878. 1 " Marrying John W. 
Whitman, a lawyer of Boston, in 1828, she was left 
a widow by his death in 1833. Betrothed to Edgar 
/ Poe, in 1848, a few months before his death, the 
engagement was broken, on the eve of the marriage, 
by the interference of friends. The early life of the 
poet was shadowed by the long absence of her father, 
and her later years were almost wholly devoted to a 
sister, left her in sacred charge by her mother. The 
poem In Memoriam is the requiem of this sister. 
This poem, Mrs. Whitman s last, has all the intel 
lectual vigor of youth, though written at the age of 
seventy-five. The freshness of her spirit and the 
charm of her presence were not lost in the vicissitudes 
of a life of strange and romantic experience. No 
one ever associated with her the idea of age. She is 
represented as lying beautiful as a bride in death, her 
brown hair scarcely touched with gray. 

"... Mrs. Whitman s poems, to an unusual 
degree, illustrate the author s life. By her direction 
the poems relating to Edgar Poe . . . have been 
grouped together, though not placed under a separate 
head. To this group belong Remembered Music, 
Our Island of Dreams, The Last Flowers, Song, 
Withered Flowers, The Phantom Voice, Arc- 
turus in October, Resurgemus, the six Sonnets 

To , Arcturus in April, and The Portrait. 

" In 1 860 Mrs. Whitman published the little book, 
Edgar Poe and his Critics, of which Curtis wrote in 

1 We quote by permission the Introduction to "Poems : By 
Sarah Helen Whitman" : Houghton, Osgood & Co., 1879. 


Harper s Weekly : In reading the exquisitely 
tender, subtle, sympathetic, and profoundly apprecia 
tive sketch of Edgar Poe, which has just been issued 
under this title, it is impossible not to remember the 
brave woman s arm, thrust through the slide to serve 
as a bolt against the enemy. . . . The author, with 
an inexpressible grace, reserve, and tender, heroic 
charity, having a right which no other person has 
to speak, tells in a simple, transparent, and quiet 
strain, what she thinks of his career and genius. 3 

In 18543 small volume of Mrs. Whitman s poems, 
entitled "Hours of Life," appeared in Providence, and 
received a warm welcome from George Ripley, 
Curtis, and others ; and this, in 1879, was followed 
by her collected Poems in the edition from which we 
make these extracts. 

It is impossible, in looking over these poems, not 
to be struck by their Poesque diction, music, and 
idiosyncrasy, as of a kindred soul caught by the spell 
of an overmastering genius. " The Golden Ball " is 

musically reminiscent of " The Raven " ; " To " 

has grown out of the magic root of " To Helen " ; 
the poems in memory of Poe are impassioned dirges, 
kindling with cadences of " beauty, majesty, and woe " 
that sweep from out the chords of the seraph harp of 
Israfel. Full of delicacy, spontaneity, appreciation of 
Nature, and mastery over rhythm, these poems pre 
sent a spirit of rare sweetness and refinement, and it is 
no wonder that they caught Poe s eye and soul, and 
drew from him enthusiastic praise in a lecture on 
"The Female Poets of America." In 1849 Mrs. 
Whitman addressed to him the following lines ; 




"Our stars look through the storm." 

STAR of resplendent front ! thy glorious eye 
Shines on me still from out yon clouded sky, 
Shines on me through the horrors of a night 
More drear than ever fell o er day so bright, 
Shines till the envious Serpent slinks away, 
And pales and trembles at thy steadfast ray. 

Hast thou not stooped from heaven, fair star ! to be 

So near me in this hour of agony ? 

So near, so bright, so glorious, that I seem 

To lie entranced as in some wondrous dream, 

All earthly joys forgot, all earthly fear, 

Purged in the light of thy resplendent sphere : 

Kindling within my soul a pure desire 

To blend with thine its incandescent fire, 

To lose my very life in thine, and be 

Soul of thy soul through all eternity. 

The occasion of Poe s first sight of Mrs. Whitman 
is romantically described as follows : 

(t Poe caught a glimpse of a white figure wandering 
in a moonlit garden in Providence, on his way 
from Boston, when he visited that city to deliver a 
poem before the Lyceum there. Restless, near mid 
night, he wandered from his hotel near where she 
lived, until he saw her walking in a garden. He 
related the incident afterwards in one of his most ex 
quisite poems, worthy of himself, of her, and of the 
most exalted passion. " 


These lines begin : 

" I saw thee once once only years ago : 

I must not say how many but not many. 

It was a July midnight ; and from out 

A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul soaring, 

Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven, 

There fell a silvery silken veil of light, 

With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber, 

Upon the upturned faces of a thousand 

Roses that grew in an enchanted garden, 

Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tip-toe. 

Clad all in white, upon a violet bank 

I saw thee half-reclining ; while the moon 

Fell on the upturned faces of the roses, 

And on thine own, upturned alas, in sorrow ! 

"Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight 
Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow) 
That bade me pause before that garden-gate 
To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses ? " 

The lady in 1 84748 addressed an anonymous 
Valentine to the author of " The Raven"; in the 
summer or early fall of 1 848 the two met at her 
mother s house, Poe carrying a letter of introduction 
from the authoress, Maria Mclntosh. Always looking 
for the mystic and the improbable, the poet believed, 
from the agreement of name between this Helen and 
the one he had so musically worshipped in his far-off 
boyish days, that there was a pre-ordained connection 
between their fates. " I yielded at once," he writes, 
" to an overwhelming sense of Fatality. From that hour 


I have never been able to shake from my soul the be 
lief that my Destiny, for good or for evil, either here 
or hereafter, is in some measure interwoven with your 

One must turn to the most glowing letters of 
Abelard and Eloiise, or to the "Sonnets from the Por 
tuguese for the fire, the urgency, the consuming 
thirst to be loved that burn and glow in Poe s letters 
of this period a period of new-risen Hope, of resur 
rection from a dead self, of rebirth into an existence 
that began to shimmer with the new leaves and new 
light of a dawning spring after the autumnal blasts 
and blights of the months just gone by. The eager, 
tremulous, stormy joy of these new weeks and months 
is prophetic of the new Poe that was about to be born, 
or that might have been born, had not Disaster inter 
vened here, as at every important crisis-moment of the 
poet s life, and cried Halt ! 

One of the most remarkable incidents in this remark 
able summer was the suggestion and composition of 
" The Bells," the second of the great brace of poems 
that have given Poe world-wide celebrity. The poem 
was, singularly enough, suggested by a lady who, she 
confessed, had never read a line of the poet s writings 
Mrs. Shew, the guardian angel of Fordham. Busied 
Vin philanthropic work, she had never had time to read 
/the poems of Poe. "One day," says Mr. Ingram, 
" he came in and said : Marie Louise, I have to 
write a poem ; I have no feeling, no sentiment, no 
inspiration. His hostess persuaded him to have some 
tea. It was served in the conservatory, the windows 
of which were open, and admitted the sound of neigh 
boring church bells. Mrs. Shew said, playfully, 








r,^ ^ ^ 

^ ^5 ^ 

^b ^o 

5i ^ 



^ - 



5" ^ 

*%s ^ 

5 ^ 






4 ^ 

^^^: : 



Y ^ 



** ^ ^ 













^ , 










Here is paper/ but the poet, declining it, declared : 
I so dislike the sound of bells to-night, I cannot 
write. I have no subject I am exhausted. The 
lady then took up the pen, and pretending to mimic 
his style, wrote The Bells, by E. A. Poe ; and^ 
then in pure sportiness, The bells, the little silver \/ 
bells, Poe finishing off the stanza. She then sug- 
gested for the next verse s The heavy iron bells ; 
and this Poe also expanded into a stanza. He next 
copied out the complete poem, and headed it By 
Mrs. M. L. Shew, remarking that it was her poem, 
as she had suggested and composed so much of it. 7 

Such was the germ of this melodious onomato-poem, 
the most perfect imitation in word, sound, and 
rhythm, in suggestion, in exquisite mimicry, of its 
theme ever written, not even excepting the marvellous 
" Les Djinns " of Victor Hugo or the " Lodore " 
of Southey. The very spirit and spirituality the 
essence and aura of the musical bell-metal, with all its 
golden and silver and brazen tones, seems to have 
flowed into the poet s soul as he wrote, and to have 
taken tongues never before so musically voiced, not 
even by Schiller. 

" The Bells " went through no less than three 
transformations before it reached the public in its final 
form, being published in Sartain s " Union Magazine " 
for November, 1849 (after Poe s death). The editor 
of the magazine gave the following account of its evo 
lution : "The singular poem of Mr. Poe s, called 
The Bells, which we published in our last num 
ber, has been very extensively copied. There is a 
curious piece of literary history connected with this 
poem, which we may as well give now as at any 
other time. It illustrates the gradual development of 


an idea in the mind of a man of original genius. This 
poem came into our possession about a year since 
[consequently, about December, 1 848] . It then con 
sisted of eighteen lines ! They were as follows : 


THE bells ! hear the bells ! 
The merry wedding-bells ! 
The little silver bells ! 
How fairy-like a melody there swells 
From the silver tinkling cells 
Of the bells, bells, bells ! 
Of the bells! 

The bells! ah, the bells ! 

The heavy iron bells ! 

Hear the tolling of the bells ! 

Hear the knells ! 
How horrible a monody there floats 

From their throats 

From their deep- toned throats ! 
How I shudder at the notes 

From the melancholy throats 
Of the bells, bells, bells ! 

Of the bells! 

" About six months after this we received the poem 
enlarged and altered nearly to its present size and form ; 
and about three months since, the author sent another 
alteration and enlargement, in which condition the 
poem was left at the time of his death." 

This was one of the poems which Poe was accused 
of selling three times a charge indignantly denied by 
Mr. Sartain himself. 


Poe s excited condition this memorable summer 
the summer that Dr. Francis said "he has heart-dis 
ease and must die young," as he looked on the sleeping V 
poet brought his devoted friendship with Mrs. Shew 
to a sudden close : Mrs. Shew naturally became afraid 
of her gifted patient, who could sink into a twelve- 
hours slumber, and not know that he had slept ; who 
was liable to fits of overwhelming depression ; the 
prey of melancholia, evidently near the last stages of 
cerebral congestion, and possessed by a world of weird \ 
and uncanny thoughts. The rupture was a very natu 
ral one from a woman s point of view ; and yet the 
lady herself has been handed down to history as one 
of the four "holy women " who stood by the tomb 
and defended the "resurrected" poet with all the 
eloquence of their pens. When one looks into the 
life-record of this Pilgrim of Sorrow, it is the faces 
of Mrs. Shew, Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Whitman, and 
Mrs. Weiss that peer luminously through the gloom, 
their tender and beautiful hands that hold the lamp 
illuminating it, their words of cheer, of comfort, of 
recognition, that sound across the abyss and stay the 
harsh voice of criticism, their ministering remem 
brances that explain much and put much in its true 

When Horace Greeley heard of Poe s contemplated 
marriage to Mrs. Whitman, he wrote to Griswold in 
January, 1 849 : 

" Do you know Sarah Helen Whitman ? Of 

course you have heard it rumored that she is to marry 

Poe. Well, she has seemed to me a good girl, and 

you know what Poe is. Now I know a widow 

of doubtful age will marry almost any sort of a white 

man, but this seems to me a terrible conjunction. 

VOL. i. 19 


Has Mrs. Whitman no friend within your knowledge 
that can faithfully explain Poe to her ? I never at 
tempted this sort of thing but once, and the net pro 
duct was two enemies and a hastening of the marriage ; 
but I do think she must be deceived. Mrs. Osgood 
must know her. 1 

Poe had once borrowed $50 of Horace Greeley, 
and had been unable to repay it : the matter is duly 
almost gleefully recorded in Greeley s "Reminis 

The story of Poe and Mrs. Whitman their 
strange fascination for each other the magnetism 
which drew their poetic natures together the 
breaches and reconciliations and interviews, and 
stormy and reproachful letters is a modern "Lei 
den des jungen Werthers that ended, not like the 
story of Jerusalem in actual, but in attempted, sui 
cide : when Mrs. Whitman s indecision and natural 
hesitancy to accept his love continued, Poe was driven 
to laudanum, and tried to end his life. Intimidated 
by the frightful violence of her lover hoping per 
haps to save him from wilder excesses and believing 

the essential goodness and refinement of his nature 
she at length, on receiving solemn pledges from 
Poe not to yield to temptation, consented to appoint a 
day for the marriage. The unhappy man, his moral 
fibre relaxed by disease, the victim of hereditary pre 
dispositions, destitute of will and of self-control since 
the terrible years that preceded Virginia s death, 
broken in constitution and in health from the awful 
vigils by her bedside, yielded to some unknown but 
irresistible pressure of evil, and broke his pledges. 
The friends of the family so we are privately as- 

1 Griswold s Correspondence, p. 249. 


sured l not Mrs. Whitman herself, broke off the 
marriage, letters of renunciation passed between the 
two poets, and they never saw each other again. But 
what Mrs. Whitman s feelings were, and ever contin 
ued to remain, may be gathered from her beautiful 
lines : 


" By the foam 
Qf perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn." KEATS. 

Tell him I lingered alone on the shore, 
Where we parted, in sorrow, to meet nevermore ; 
The night wind blew cold on my desolate heart 
But colder those wild words of doom, "Ye must 

O er the dark, heaving waters, I sent forth a cry ; 
Save the wail of those waters there came no reply. 
I longed, like a bird, o er the billows to flee, 
From our lone island home and the moan of the sea : 

Away, far away from the wild ocean shore, 
Where the waves ever murmur, " No more, never 


Where I wake, in the wild noon of midnight, to hear 
The lone song of the surges, so mournful and drear. 

Where the clouds that now veil from us heaven s fair 


Their soft, silver lining turn forth on the night ; 
When time shall the vapors of falsehood dispel, 
He shall know if I loved him ; but never how well. 

J In a letter from the late Dr. W. F. Channing, her friend and 


Mrs. Whitman, says Ingram, firmly believed that 
Poe wrote "Annabel Lee " in response to this poem. 

The story of the lovely spiritualist, robed always in 
white, and of her spirit-like habits of going and coming 
in Shelleyan wise, is said to have suggested to Charles 
Dickens a character in one of his famous later novels. 
One who evidently knew Mrs. Whitman well writes 
in the New York " Saturday Times," October 25, 
1899: ^ 

"This tragedy of the heart colored all the rest of 
Sarah Helen Whitman s life. It could not affect her 
appreciation of Poe s brilliant powers, nor diminish 
her love of his finer nature, the gentle, winning side, 
which revealed the man God meant him to be. But 
it cast a soft, half-veiling shadow over her. She 
walked the rest of the way under a kindly cloud that 
seemed to protect her from the glaring light of day and 
save her from the scrutiny of prying eyes. She seemed 
different and apart from other women. There was 
about her something mysterious and elusive. As she 
glided softly into the room, she brought with her a 
dreamy, other- world atmosphere, which subdued noisy 
laughter or idle talk ; and when she spoke, in her low, 
sweetly modulated voice, others listened. Mrs. 
Whitman s talk was always worth while; whether of 
poetry or politics, of every day affairs or spiritual 
things, it was sure to be interesting. She could be 
merry, too, and sarcastic if it suited the occasion. She 
had flitting, spirit-like ways, of coming softly and dis 
appearing suddenly, of half concealing herself behind a 
curtain and peeping out as she joined in the conversa 

" Strictly unconventional in the matter of clothes, 
she loved silken draperies, lace scarfs, and veils, and 


seemed to be always lightly shod. At one time she 
wore constantly around her throat a black velvet rib 
bon, pinned with a tiny coffin which a friend had 
carved for her in some dark-colored wood, and this 
funereal badge she seemed to prize above diamonds or 
pearls. She liked a fan in her hand to screen her eyes 
from the light, and her own pleasant rooms were never 
glaring. On one wall hung a portrait of her poet, 
hidden by a silken curtain. It had his wonderful eyes. 
This picture was the subject of Mrs. Whitman s poem 
< The Portrait. " 

These lines (written in 1870) begin : 

" After long years I raised the folds concealing 

That face, magnetic as the morning s beam: 
While slumbering memory thrilled at its revealing, 
Like Memnon wakening from his marble dream. 

" Again I saw the brow s translucent pallor, 

The dark hair floating o er it like a plume ; 
The sweet, imperious mouth, whose haughty valor 
Defied all portents of impending doom j 

and they end with the stanza on our title-page. 

The " Whitman episode is closed by the follow 
ing letter from Mrs. Whitman herself to W. F. Gill, 
dated August, 1873 ;1 "No such scene as that de 
scribed by Dr. Griswold ever transpired in my presence. 
No one, certainly no woman, who had the slightest 
acquaintance with Edgar Poe, could have credited the 
story for an instant. He was essentially and instinctively 
a gentleman, utterly incapable, even in moments of ex 
citement and delirium, of such an outrage as Dr. Gris 
wold has ascribed to him. No authentic anecdote of 

1 Life of Poe; Chatto and Windus : London: 1878, p. 227, 


coarse indulgence in vulgar orgies or bestial riot has 
ever been recorded of him. During the last years of 
his unhappy life, whenever he yielded to the tempta 
tion that was drawing him into its fathomless abyss, as 
with the resistless swirl of the maelstrom, he always 
lost himself in sublime rhapsodies on the evolution of 
the universe, speaking as from some imaginary plat 
form to vast audiences of rapt and attentive listeners. 
During one of his visits to this city [Providence], in 
the autumn of 1 848, I once saw him after one of those 
nights of wild excitement, before reason had fully re 
covered its throne. Yet even then, in those frenzied 
moments when the doors of the mind s Haunted 
Palace were left unguarded, his words were the words 
of a princely intellect overwrought, and of a heart only 
too sensitive and too finely strung. I repeat that no 
one acquainted with Edgar Poe could have given Dr. 
Griswold s scandalous anecdote a moment s credence." 

The whole Petronius-like scene was also flatly 
contradicted by Mrs. Whitman s intimate friend, Wm. 
J. Pabodie, Esq., of Providence, in the "New York 
Tribune" for June 2 and n, 1852, and has now 
been thrown aside by all right-minded people as 
utterly discredited. 

The union of these two ethereal natures "the 
pale, poetic presence " of the one, the Ligeian har 
mony of the other promised indeed to be of ex 
quisite fruition, but was destined never to be fulfilled. 

The coarse rumors of drunken intoxication, of ribald 
scenes in Mrs. Whitman s gardens and house, and of 
police interference, reported by various biographers, 
have thus been proved to be absolutely false, as they 
were on the face of them absolutely impossible. This 
one can see from the testimony of another woman of 


genius who was intimate with the Foes, and whose 
noble affection dictated some of the warmest words in 
defence of the poet Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood. 

On her death-bed, seven months after Poe s death, 
she wrote : l 

"I think no one could know him no one has 
known him personally certainly no woman with 
out feeling the same interest [as I did]. I can sin 
cerely say, that I have frequently heard of aberrations 
on his part from the straight and narrow path. I 
have never seen him otherwise than gentle, generous, . 
well bred, and fastidiously refined. To a sensitive and 
delicately nurtured woman, there was a peculiar and irre 
sistible charm in the chivalric, graceful, and almost ten 
der reverence with which he invariably approached all 
women who won his respect. It was this which first 
commanded and always retained my regard for him. 

" / have been told that when his sorrows and pecu 
niary embarrassments had driven him to the use of 
stimulants, which a less delicate organization might 
have borne without injury, he was in the habit of 
speaking disrespectfully of the ladies of his acquaint 
ance. It is difficult for me to believe this ; for to me, 
to whom he came during the year of our acquaintance 
for counsel and kindness in all his many anxieties and 
griefs, he never spoke irreverently of any woman save 
one, and then only in my defence ; and though I re 
buked him for his momentary forgetfulness of the 
respect due to himself and to me, I could not but for 
give the offence for the sake of the generous impulse 
which prompted it. Yet, even were these sad rumors 
true of him, the wise and well-informed knew how to 
regard, as they would the impetuous anger of a spoiled 
1 Mrs. Osgood to Griswold, from the Griswold Memoirs of Poe. 


infant, baulked of its capricious will, the equally harm 
less and unmeaning phrensy of that stray child of 
Poetry and Passion. For the few unwomanly and 
slander-loving gossips who have injured him and them 
selves only by repeating his ravings, when in such moods 
they have accepted his society, I have only to vouch 
safe my wonder and my pity. They cannot surely 
harm the true and pure, who, reverencing his genius 
and pitying his misfortunes and his errors, endeavored 
by their timely kindness and sympathy, to soothe his 
sad career. 

" It was in his own simple yet poetical home, that 
to me the character of Edgar Poe appeared in its most 
beautiful light. Playful, affectionate, witty, alternately 
docile and wayward as a petted child for his young, 
gentle, and idolized wife, and for all who came, he 
had, even in the midst of his most harassing duties, a 
kind word, a pleasant smile, a graceful and courteous 
attention. At his desk, beneath the romantic picture 
of his loved and lost Lenore, he would sit, hour after 
hour, patient, assiduous, and uncomplaining, tracing in 
an exquisitely clear chirography, and with almost super 
human swiftness, the lightning thoughts the rare 
and radiant fancies as they flashed through his 
wonderful and ever- wakeful brain." 

The woman referred to in Mrs. Osgood s recollec 
tions was a certain Mrs. Ellet, who made herself 
notorious by meddling in Poe s private affairs and 
following him with relentless persecution when he 
denounced her. It seems that on a certain occasion 
she saw a letter of Mrs. Osgood s to Poe lying open 
\ on a table, read it, and immediately got up a com 
mittee of ladies, with Margaret Fuller at their head, to 
call on the offending poet at Fordham, and remon- 


strate. Poe, who detested both Mrs. Ellet and 
Margaret Fuller, though in his " Literati " he did full 
justice to the genius of the latter, denounced the Paul 
Pry, and angrily said she had better look after her own 
correspondence. This brought down on the poet a 
personal difficulty with the woman s family and re 
sulted in a world of slanders, lies, and abuse heaped 
on his devoted head. 

In a letter only lately accessible through the pub 
lication of the Griswold Correspondence (p. 256), 
Mrs. Osgood in a letter referring to these slanders and 
the whole painful episode of her correspondence with 
and friendship for Poe, writes to Griswold in 1850 : 

"I trust you will write that life of Poe [she never 
saw the Life after it was written!]. I will do as you 
wished : I will write, as far as is proper, in a letter to 
you, my reminiscences of that year [apparently 1846 
47], and try to make it interesting and dignified, and 
you in introducing it by one single sentence can put 
down at once my envious calumniators. You have 
the proof in Mrs. Poe s letter to me, and in bis to 
Mrs. Ellet, either of which would fully establish my 
innocence in a court of justice certainly hers would. 
Neither of them, as you know, were persons likely to 
take much trouble to prove a woman s innocence, and 
it was only because she felt that I had been cruelly 
and shamefully wronged by her mother and Mrs. E. 
that she impulsively rendered me that justice. She, 
Mrs. Poe, felt grieved that she herself had drawn me 
into the snare by imploring me to be kind to Edgar 
to grant him my society and to write to him, be 
cause, she said, I was the only woman he knew who 
influenced him for his good, or, indeed, who had any 
lasting influence over him. I wish the simple truth to 


be known, that he sought me, not I him. It is too 
cruel that I, the only one of those literary women who 
did not seek his acquaintance, for Mrs. Ellet asked 
an introduction to him, and followed him everywhere, 
Miss Lynch begged me to bring him there and called 
upon him at his lodgings, Mrs. Whitman besieged him 
with valentines and letters long before he wrote or took 
any notice of her, and all the others wrote poetry and 
letters to him, it is too cruel that I should be singled 
out after his death as the only victim to suffer from the 
slanders of his mother. I never thought of him till 
he sent me his Raven and asked Willis to introduce 
him to me, and immediately after I went to Albany, 
and afterwards to Boston and Providence to avoid him, 
and he followed me to each of those places and wrote 
to me, imploring me to love him, many a letter which 
I did not reply to until his wife added her entreaties to 
his and said that I might save him from infamy, and 
her from death, by showing an affectionate interest in 

Stung to the quick by the slanders growing out of 
her Platonic correspondence with Poe, who never 
ceased to be devoted to her, Mrs. Osgood penned this 
self-contradictory communication to Griswold; which 
did not prevent her from addressing an impassioned 
dirge to the poet s memory as the last poem in the 
volume of verse published just before her death in 
May, 1850 : 

"The hand that swept the sounding lyre 

With more than mortal skill, 
The lightning eye, the heart of fire, 

The fervent lips are still ! 
No more, in rapture or in woe, 
With melody to thrill, 

Ah! Nevermore!" 





DURING the Whitman episode and while he was 
travelling to and fro between New York, Providence, 
and Lowell, where he lectured in August on " The 
Poetic Principle," he made some valuable acquaint 
ances the Richmonds, of Westford who became 
attached and life-long friends to himself and Mrs. 
Clemm. We find him soon after in Richmond, Va., 
and on intimate terms with the poet John R. Thomp 
son, editor of " The Southern Literary Messenger," 
for which he was furnishing new instalments of 
" Marginalia." Thompson became extremely fond 
of Poe, and wrote, after his death, a lecture on him 
which, it is greatly to be regretted, has seemingly per 
ished. "When in Richmond," reports Mr. Thomp 
son, " he made the office of the Messenger a place 
of frequent resort. His conversation was always at 
tractive, and at times very brilliant. Among modern 
authors his favorite wa Tennyson, and he delighted 
to recite from The Princess the song Tears, idle 
tears and a fragment of which, 

" t when unto dying eyes 
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square, 

he pronounced unsurpassed by any image expressed in 


For Mr. Thompson, whom he inspired with an 
affection similar to that with which he inspired all 
with whom he had personal dealings, he wrote much 
of his sparkling and vivid "Marginalia," as well as re 
views of " Stella and Mrs. Osgood. To his quality 
and general worth Mr. Thompson, who saw so much 
of him in his latter days, bears feeling testimony. In 
1853, writing to Mr. James Wood Davidson, Mr. 
Thompson remarks : <f Two years ago, I had a long 
conversation with Mr. Robert and Elizabeth Barrett 
Browning concerning Poe. The two poets, like your 
self, had formed an ardent and just admiration of the 
author of * The Raven, and feel a strong desire to see 
his memory vindicated from moral aspersion." 

" Stella was another link in the golden chain 
of women who honored and almost worshipped the 
poet, and who have done more than any other per 
sons to vindicate and cleanse his bedraggled memory. 
She was the woman to whom Poe, as he parted with 
her the day he left for the fatal journey to Rich 
mond, entrusted the writing of his life Miss Rob 
inson, an accomplished lady of Baltimore, who had 
spent much of her early life in Cuba, where her father 
was engaged in business. She was a thorough linguist 
in the ancient and modern languages, and married an 
attorney in Brooklyn, Mr. S. D. Lewis. She tells of 
her acquaintance in the following lines : " I saw much 
of Mr. Poe during the last year of his life. He was 
one of the most sensitive and refined gentlemen I ever 
met. My girlish poem, Forsaken, made us ac 
quainted. He had seen it floating the rounds of the 
press, and wrote to tell me how much he liked it : It 
is inexpressibly beautiful, he said, and I should very 
much like to know the young author. " 


Poe wrote of her : " Mrs. Lewis is, perhaps, the 
best educated, if not the most accomplished of Ameri 
can authoresses. . . . She is not only cultivated as re 
spects the usual ornamental acquirements of her sex, 
but excels as a modern linguist, and very especially as 
a classical scholar ; while her scientific acquisitions are 
of no common order. 

The lady translated charmingly from Vergil, pub 
lished " Records of the Heart" (Appletons, 1844), 
"The Child of the Sea," (Putnams, 1848), "The 
King s Stratagem," "Sappho: A Tragedy" (published 
in London, 1876, and dedicated to her "devoted friend 
Adelaide Ristori, the greatest living tragedienne"^, and 
many fugitive poems. To her Poe addressed "An 
Enigma," which appeared in the " Union Magazine" 
for March, I 848 easily solved by combining, as in 
"A Valentine," the first letter in the first line with 
the second in the second, and so on, until " the dear 
names that lie concealed within t " are spelt out ; and 
she was one of the warm friends who assisted Mrs. 
Shew and the Union Club in raising a purse of $100 
for the destitute family after Virginia s death. 

Not long before the Virginia trip a cheering beam 
fell across Poe s path in the friendship of the Rich- 
monds (to which we have already referred) a family 
who gave Mrs. Clemm a hospitable home and divided 
with the Lewises the kind offices of true friendship 
towards her after Poe s death. This friendship began 
in the summer of 1848, when he was lecturing in 
Lowell on "The Female Poets of America," and 
later, the same year, when he lectured on " The 
Poetic Principle;" and it was to the "Annie" of 
this household that he addressed his strange and beau 
tiful death-poem, " For Annie," first mentioned in a 


letter to her, dated March 23, 1849, and first pub 
lished in "The Flag of Our Union " the same year. 
It begins : 

"Thank Heaven! the crisis, 

The danger, is past, 
And the lingering illness 

Is over at last, 

And the fever called Living 
Is conquered at last." 

The last two lines have the additional interest that 
Longfellow suggested them as an epitaph for Poe s 
grave l when the Baltimore monument was erected 
in 1875. 

Of this poem Poe wrote: "I enclose also some 
other lines For Annie, and will you let me know 
in what manner they impress you ? I have sent them 
to the Flag of Our Union, ... I am sorry to say 
that the Metropolitan has stopped and Landor s 
Cottage is returned on my hands unprinted. I think 
the lines For Annie (those I now send) much the 
best I have ever written ; but an author can seldom 
depend on his own estimate of his own works, so I 
wish to know what Annie truly thinks of them. . . . 
Do not let the verses go out of your possession until you 
see them in print, as I have sold them to the pub 
lisher of the Flag. " 

At Poe s request Willis, his faithful friend, " disen 
tombed " the poem from the newspaper in which it 
was buried and reprinted it in " The Home Journal." 

At this time Poe was suffering from repeated disap 
pointments ; the numerous literary engagements which 
he had formed with "The Columbian Magazine," 
"The Post," "The Whig Review," and "The 

1 Miss S. S. Rice : Edgar Allan Poe : Memorial Volume : 
Baltimore: 1877. 


Democratic," were broken either by the failure of 
the periodicals or by their inability to pay ; even his 
stand-bys "The Southern Literary Messenger," 
"Graham s," and " Sartain s," began to vacillate 
in their hospitality and to threaten to drop from under 
him. Articles were returned, were held up indefinite 
ly after acceptance, or disappeared in the mails. He 
pours out his lamentations to his new Massachusetts 
friends and reveals to "Annie," with a singular 
warmth of tone, all his personal feelings, hopes, and 
forebodings. All this fateful year was full of extraordi 
nary portent for him : 

tl No, my sadness \sunaccountable" he writes to 
her, " and this makes me the more sad. I am full 
of dark forebodings. Nothing cheers or comforts me. 
My life seems wasted the future looks a dreary 
blank : but I will struggle on and * hope against 
hope/ " 

This was a little while before he set out for Rich- 
mond on the final journey. 

A lady correspondent of Mr. Gill s 1 has given some 
graphic recollections of Poe at this time as he appeared 
to his Lowell-Westford friends : 

"I have in my mind s-eye a figure somewhat be 
low medium height, perhaps, but so perfectly pro 
portioned, and crowned with such a noble head, 
so regally carried, that to my girlish apprehension he 
gave the impression of commanding stature. Those 
clear, sad eyes seemed to look from an eminence rather 
than from the ordinary level of humanity, while his 
conversational tone was so low and deep that one could 
easily fancy it borne to the ear from some distant 

1 Life of Poe : Chatto and Windus : 1878, p. 209 


" I saw him first in Lowell, and there heard him 
give a lecture on Poetry, illustrated by readings. His 
manner of rendering some of the selections constitutes 
my only remembrance of the evening which so fasci 
nated me. Everything was rendered with pure into 
nation, and perfect enunciation, marked attention being 
paid to the rhythm. He almost sa?2g the more musical 
versifications. I recall more perfectly than anything 
else the undulations of his smooth baritone voice as 
he recited the opening lines of Byron s Bride of 
Abydos : 

" Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle 

Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime, 

measuring the dactylic movement perfectly as if he 
were scanning it. The effect was very pleasing. 

" He insisted strongly upon an even, metrical flow in 
versification, and said that hard, unequally stepping 
poetry had better be done into prose. I think he 
made no selections of a humorous character, either in 
his public or parlor readings. He smiled but seldom, 
and never laughed, or said anything to excite mirth in 
others. His manner was quiet and grave. ... In 
thinking of Mr. Poe in later years I have often applied 
to him the line of Wordsworth s sonnet, 

" * Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart. * 

The first mention of the ballad of " Annabel Lee " 
(published two days after his death in the " New York 
Tribune" for October pth, then in " The Southern 
Literary Messenger" for November, 1849, then in 
Sartain s "Union Magazine " for January, 1850) 
literally a voice from the tomb, with the accents of 
Death and of undying music in it is found in one 


of the letters to "Annie," in which, speaking of the 
lines " For Annie," he says : "The Flag, so mis 
printed them that I was resolved to have a true copy. 
The Flag has two of my articles yet A Sonnet to 
my Mother, and Landor s Cottage. ... I have 
written a ballad called Annabel Lee, which I will 
send you soon." 

In her "Stanzas for Music," subsequently enlarged 
and published as " Our Island of Dreams," quoted on 
p. 291, Mrs. Whitman l saw the germ of " Annabel 
Lee," which she firmly believed was an answer to 
her poem from the striking allusions to " the night 
wind blew cold on my desolate heart" and " our lone 
island home and the moan of the sea," occurring 
therein. Richard Hengist Home saw in it one more 
instance of Poe s "studied artifice, selection, or coin 
age, of liquid and sonorous sounds and words such as 
(to spell them phonetically) ullaleume annabellee 
ells (in the < Bells ),ore in The Raven, which 
abounds in that long-drawn tone." 

The last pathetic glimpse that we get of Poe in 
New York is on an early summer morning in June, 
when, having spent the night with his " dear Mud- 
die " (as he affectionately called Mrs. Clemm) at 
Mrs. Lewis s, he stood on the threshold of the hos 
pitable home and, with streaming eyes and heart full 
of foreboding, bade farewell i a slight, poetic figure, 
tense with emotion, so full of dynamic force that even 
then, after many almost deadly illnesses, his brain 
teemed with projects for the future. All through 
these latter years one hears of "A Critical History 
of American Literature," "The Literati: Some Hon- 

1 Ingram, II., 200. 
VOL. I. 20 


est Opinions about Autorial Merits and Demerits, with 
Occasional Words of Personality, together with Mar 
ginalia, Suggestions, and Essays " : an expanded 
reprint of his Literati series, with quotations from 
Bacon and Coke ; and " Phases of American Liter 
ature " ; but nothing came of them. 

" The day before he left New York for Richmond," 
says Mrs. Lewis, " Mr. Poe came to dinner and 
stayed the night. He seemed very sad and retired 
early. On leaving the next morning he took my hand 
in his, and, looking in my face, said, Dear Stella, 
my much-beloved friend : You truly understand and 
appreciate me I have a presentiment that I shall never 
see you again. I must leave to-day for Richmond. If 
I never return, write my life, you can and will do me 

" I will ! I exclaimed. And we parted to meet 
no more in this life. That promise I have not yet felt 
equal to fulfil." 

Mrs. Clemm noted the wretched spirits in which he 
parted from them, before leaving home, arranging all 
his papers and telling her what to do in case he died. 
The parting on the steamboat was a very dejected one, 
though he tried in vain to cheer and comfort her with 
promises to return soon full of love and consolation. 

John Sartain, the artist and magazinist, who edited 
the well-known periodical Sartain s f< Union Maga 
zine " in which " The Bells " was published, lifts 
the veil and tells us what happened in Philadelphia to 
the ill-controlled and impoverished poet : another scene 
from Dante s Inferno. Poe s low nervous condition, 
y his run-down physical system, his extreme mental de- 
j\ pression on separating from his friends, the slow ravages 
of the lesion in the brain from which he was all this 


time suffering, an apparent utter prostration of the will 
before drugs or stimulants that would for a moment lift 
him out of the Slough of Despond or even momentarily 
restore an artificial vigor, were the subtle agencies at 
work to overthrow his brave determination to show 
Mrs. Clemm "how good he could be while he was 

" Poe," says Mr. Gill, 1 "was an inmate [at Phila 
delphia] of the hospitable mansion of the artist and 
publisher, Mr. J. Sartain, widely known as the pro 
prietor of Sartain s Magazine, whose kindness the 
poet had frequently shared. Fortunate, indeed, would 
it have been for Poe had he met with this staunch 
friend on first reaching the city this time. Had he 
fallen into his protecting hands earlier, instead of meet 
ing with reckless associates, ready as in old times to 
tempt him to the indulgence inevitably fatal to him, 
how different might have been his fate ! But it was 
ordained otherwise. When he finally reached the resi 
dence of his kind friend, Poe was in a highly excited V 
condition, almost distracted indeed. His mind seemed 
bewildered and oppressed with the dread of some fear 
ful conspiracy against his life ; nor could the arguments 
or entreaties of his friend convince him that some 
deadly foe was not, at that very moment, in pursuit of 
him/"~He begged for a razor for the purpose of re 
moving the moustache from his lip, in order, as he 
suggested, that he might disguise his appearance, and ~A 
thus baffle his pursuers. But, unwilling to place such / 
an instrument in his hands, he was prevailed upon to 
allow his host to effect the desired change upon which 
he imagined his safety depended. The condition of 

1 Life of Poe : Chatto and Windus : London : 1878, p. 234. 


Poe s mind was such that Mr. Sartain, after persuad 
ing him to lie down, remained watching with him 
through the night with anxious solicitude, unwilling to 
lose sight of the unfortunate sufferer for a moment. 
^ The following night, Foe insisted on going out. He 
turned his steps towards the River Schuylkill, accom 
panied, however, by his devoted friend, whose appre 
hension was strengthened by the vehemence with 
which, without cessation, he poured forth in the 
rich, musical tones for which he was distinguished, the 
fervid imageries of his brilliant but over-excited imagi 
nation. The all-absorbing theme which still retained 
possession of his mind, was the fearful conspiracy that 
threatened his destruction. Vainly his friend en 
deavored to reassure and persuade him. He rushed on 
with unwearied steps, threading different streets, his 
companion striving to lead him homeward, but still in 

" Towards midnight, they reached Fairmount and 
/ ascended the steps leading to the summit, Poe all the 
while giving free scope to the conversational powers 
P for which he was always remarkable, insisting upon 
the imminence of his peril, and pleading with touch 
ing eloquence for protection. . . . 

" He did n t recover from this intense excitement 
until, subsequently, escaping from the house, he wan- 
%. / dered out into the neighborhood of the city, and, 
throwing himself down in the open air in a pleasant 
field, his shattered nerves found a comfortless but sorely 
needed repose. He woke refreshed. . . . 

t All that he could call to mind were the entreaties 
and persuasions of some * guardian angel who had 
sought to dissuade him from a frightful purpose." 

More than three weeks elapsed before Mrs. Clemm, 


distracted with apprehension and grief, heard from 
"Eddie," and then he had reached Richmond and 
was at the house of Mrs. Nye, an old friend of the 
family. The man who could trace Conscience with 
such terrible force in others, through all the minute 
convolutions of the diseased brain ; the man who 
could figure it in " William Wilson," a frenzied Kriem- 
hild as she pursues Hagen through the blood-stained 
stanzas of the " Nibelungen Lay " ; the man who in 
carnated it, with its sister Remorse, in the flashing 
eyes and shadowy form of the "Raven": this man 
had left his devoted " mother " without a line for 
three interminable weeks, and now turned up in the 
home of his youth, an honored and feted guest ! 

This episode alone shows that Poe had become a 
wreck and should have been in some beneficent sani 
tarium where good food, perfect quiet, the laws of 
spiritual and physical hygiene, and absolute freedom 
from excitements might have restored his broken sense 
of responsibility. 





THE last days in Richmond have fortunately been 
painted for us by a sympathetic and artistic hand in a 
picture to which we can add a few important imprinted 
details gathered from still living contemporaries of the 

In his return a prodigal to the beautiful old 
city of his youth where so many innocent and happy 
hours had been spent, fishing, hunting, swimming in 
the ancient yellow "Jeems," running the flower- 
bespangled woods, acting in the Thespian Club, 
verse-capping at old Burke s Academy, the city where 
his mother lay in a nameless and unknown grave, Poe 
found for a brief two months and a half a renewal of 
the eagle-like strength of his earlier years. The city 
had of course grown immensely since his youth ; the 
Mexican War, with its wave of excitement, had passed 
over the land and brought the great Virginians, Zachary 
Taylor and Winfield Scott prominently before the 
public ; the streets swarmed with new faces ; new 
literary figures had appeared on the scene ; but it was, 
fundamentally, the same dear old Richmond, social, 
hospitable, sunshiny, richly read in eighteenth century 
literature, a trifle pedantic in its culture, but full of 
winsome women and cultivated men who had watched 
the career of this extraordinary " cosmopolite" (as the 


novelist Virginian Cooke, called him) and were ready 
to welcome the wanderer back to what many of them 
thought was his native town. 

The Mackenzies and Cabells, the Mayos and Sul- 
lys, the Sheltons and Carters and Thomases were still 
there, friends of his youth, ready to kill the fatted calf 
in honor of the return, and their houses were thrown 
wide open to the gifted and distinguished stranger. 
Poe, like Chaucer in his famous "I am a Sotherne 
man," continually referred to Virginia as his home 
and shrank from the hyperborean clime and criticism 
of certain latitudes in the north-east, albeit deriving 
from thence many an auroral beam of true and lasting 
friendship. In his own Virginia consecrated, to 
him, by the tenderest of names he felt perfectly at - 
home ; and here he felt, too, that his " Stylus " pro 
ject might grow into a real thing. Friends flocked 
around him ; offers of subscriptions and of subscribers 
were freely made ; and he delivered several lectures in 
the parlors of the old Exchange Hotel, where, a little 
later, the Prince of Wales (now King Edward VII.) 
was entertained in 1860. 

Poe put up at the old " Swan Tavern, * which is 
referred to, among other interesting matters, in the 
following letter to the author : 

RICHMOND, Nov. 26th, 1900. 

DEAR SIR, Your letter of November twenty-fifth re 
ceived, in which you state I might know something of the 
poet, Edgar Poe, and his visit to Richmond in eighteen 
forty-nine. My impression is he was a resident at that 
time of this city, and boarded at the old " Swan Tavern," 
on Broad Street, between Eighth and Ninth. Dr. 
George Rawlins, an intimate friend of mine, told me he 
attended him there in an attack of " delirium tremens," 


and before he had ceased to visit him, he left the tavern, 
and when next heard from, was in Baltimore, where he re 
newed his frolic, and died in a few days. 

I had no personal acquaintance with Poe, but have 
often seen him. The only time I ever heard him speak 
was the summer of eighteen forty-eight in the Exchange 
Concert-room in this city. The inspiration of the lecture 
was no doubt need of money. In elucidating his subject 
"The Poetic Principle 1 he recited excerpts from some 
of his poems " Annabelle Lee," " Tintinnabulations of 
the Bells, 1 etc. 5 and in conclusion repeated "The 
Raven " with all the rhythm and pathos of which he was 
capable. All this before an audience of about twenty per 
sons. The occasion to this day I recall with pleasure. I 
have heard that at times his necessities were so urgent he 
would write a poem and sell it to an acquaintance for the 
paltry sum of one dollar. He was said to be moody and 
peevish, but always recognized by his school-fellows as a 
boy of true courage. On one occasion a friend found him 
lying on the wayside intoxicated. As he approached 
him he exclaimed: "Why, Edgar Poe!" when Poe 
looked at him and replied : " No ; poor Edgar," showing 
he always retained his wits. The "Swan Tavern" is 
still in existence, but hardly recognizable, having been con 
verted into offices, lodging-rooms, and so on. Miss Jane 
McKenzie, who adopted Miss Rosalie Poe about the time 
Mr. Allan took Edgar Poe, is, of course, long since dead 
in fact every member of her family, so far as I know, is 
dead. I had a slight acquaintance with Mrs. Shelton, to 
whom he was said to be engaged, but of her family I can 
tell you nothing. 

It may be emphasized, in connection with one 
matter referred to in this letter, that Richmond has for 
fifty years past been divided into two antagonistic camps 
on the "Poe question," the minority holding the 
" delirium tremens theory of his irregularities, the ma- 


jority taking the more humane and charitable view of 
Mrs. Susan Archer Weiss, in her " Last Days of Ed 
gar A. Poe." 1 The occurrences undoubtedly occurred 
to use an expressive tautology ; but the explanation 
of them is a purely pathological one : morbid condi 
tions existed which overpowered any will-power that 
may have been left, honeycombed as this power had 
become by a string and concatenation of disasters un 
paralleled in the history of any literary man on record. 
Schiller, in the " Wallenstein," mercifully keeps the 
murder of the hero out of sight ; Poe is presented to 
us by his biographers undergoing all the torments of 
the damned before the gaping eyes of the audience. 

This little visit shed an Indian summer glow over 
the life of the poet that lingers still in the memory of 
some who saw him. He hunted up his old haunts, 
made new friends, recited his "Raven" and other 
poems in the parlors of his intimates, stayed at Dun 
can s Lodge with the Mackenzies, met his eccentric 
sister, Rosalie Poe, once more, and above all renewed 
the acquaintance with the old flame of his University 
and Academy days, Miss Royster (now Mrs. Shelton, 
widow of a prosperous merchant a lady whom the 
author, living in the same town with her in 187176, 
used to hear familiarly called f( Poe s Lenore ") . P.QC 
had come down from New York to Richmond in 
1848 and had then, it is said, renewed the suit begun 
more than twenty years before, a period during which 
both had become widowed. Mrs. Weiss asserts that 
the engagement was renewed, but that it was broken 
off when Mrs. Shelton learned that it was purely mer 
cenary that it was the << Stylus," not herself, that 

1 Scribnet s Monthly, March, 1878. 


Poe was in pursuit of. That Poe s affections for 
women were intense but fleeting, is a part of the uni 
versal record of him ; and in the case of Mrs. Shelton 
it may well have been a momentary recrudescence of 
the old feeling mixed with new elements of self-in 
terest. The lady herself believed she was engaged to 
Poe, and so asserted by pen and mouth to/ Dr. J. J. 
Moran, the physician who attended Poe in his last ill 
ness. 1 In the Ingram correspondence ("Appleton s 
Journal," May, 1878) she thus describes their meeting 
in the summer of 1 849, describing their relation, how 
ever, as a "partial understanding" only : 

" I was ready to go to church, when a servant 
entered and told me that a gentleman in the parlor 
wished to see me. I went down and was amazed at 
seeing him [Poe], but knew him instantly. He came 
up to me in the most enthusiastic manner, and said: 
Oh ! Elmira, is it you ? I told him I was going 
to church, that I never let anything interfere with that, 
and that he must call again. . . . 

" When he did call again, he renewed his addresses. 
I laughed ; he looked away serious, and said he was 
in earnest, and had been thinking about it for a long 
time. When I found out that he was very serious, I 
became serious also, and told him that, if he would not 
take a positive denial, he must give me time to con 
sider. He answered, A love that hesitated was not 
a love for him. . . . But he stayed a long time, and 
was very pleasant and cheerful. He came to visit me 
frequently. ... I went with him to the * Exchange 
K Concert- Room, and heard him read. . . . When he 
was going away, he begged me to marry him, and prom- 

1 A Defence of Edgar Allan Poe. By Jno. J. Moran, M.D. : 
Washington, 1885. 


ised he would be everything I could desire. He 
said, when he left, that he was going to New York to 
wind up some business matters, and that he would re 
turn to Richmond as soon as he had accomplished it, 
although he said, at the same time, that he had a pre 
sentiment that he should never see me any more. . . . 
I was not engaged to him, but there was a partial 
understanding. ... He was a gentleman in every 
sense of the word. He was one of the most fascinat 
ing and refined men I ever knew. I never saw him 
under the influence of wine." 

Thus bathing in the sunlight of his youth, touching 
the hand of people he had not met for twenty years, 
lounging in the comfortable office of the " Messenger," 
whose accomplished young editor, the poet John R. 
Thompson, eagerly received anything he might send, 
and freshening up old associations at "The Hermit 
age, " the home of the Mayos, fondly intertwined with 
his earliest memories, Poe seemed well on the way to 
the happy rejuvenation that awaited a man emerging / 
as from a hideous dream a life of penury, persecu 
tion, and humiliation into the daylight of restored 
peace and happiness. 

" Poe s personality is as vivid to me," writes 
Prof. B. C. Gildersleeve to the editor, "as if I had 
heard and seen him yesterday. I am old enough to 
remember what an excitement his Gold- Bug 
created in Charleston when it first appeared, and how 
severely we boys criticised the inaccuracies in the de 
scription of Sullivan s Island. Poe himself I saw and 
heard in Richmond during the last summer of his life. 
He was lodging at some poor place in Broad Street, if 
I am not mistaken. At least I saw him repeatedly in 
that thoroughfare a poetical figure, if there ever was 


one, clad in black as was the fashion then slender 
erect the subtle lines of his face fixed in medita 
tion. I thought him wonderfully handsome, the 
mouth being the only weak point. I was too shy to 
seek an introduction to the poet, but John R. Thomp 
son procured for me Poe s autograph, a possession of 
which I was naturally very proud. 

" While Poe was in Richmond some of his friends 
got up a reading for his benefit, and I heard him read 
The Raven and some other poems before a small 
audience in one of the parlors of the Exchange Hotel. 
In spite of my admiration of Poe I was not an un 
critical listener, and I have retained the impression 
that he did not read very well. His voice was pleas 
ant enough, but he emphasized the rhythm unduly 
a failing common, I believe, to poets endowed with a 
keen sense of the music of their own verse/ 

"A compact, well-set man," wrote Bishop Fitz 
gerald, "about five feet six inches high, straight as an 
arrow, easy-gaited, with white linen coat and trousers, 
black velvet vest and broad Panama hat, features sad 
yet finely cut, shapely head, and eyes that were strangely 
magnetic as you looked into them this is the image 
of Edgar Allan Poe most vivid to my mind as I saw 
him one warm day in Richmond in 1849. There 
was a fascination about him that everybody felt. Meet 
ing him in the midst of thousands a stranger would 
stop to get a second look, and to ask, Who is he ? 
He was distingue in a peculiar sense a man bearing 
the stamp of genius and the charm of a melancholy that 
drew one toward him with a strange sympathy. He 
was scarcely less unique in his personality than in his 
literary quality. His writings had already given him 
national reputation. The gentleness of his manner and 


the tones of his voice seemed to me to be strangely 
contrasted with the bitterness that characterized his 
personal controversies. These controversies were 
strangely numerous, and in nearly all cases their in 
tensity was in the inverse ratio to the importance of 
the issues involved. Poe, I suspect, was one of the 
men who said worse things than he felt, his talent for 
satire proving a snare to him, as it has been to many 
others who with pen or tongue sacrifice moderation for 
brilliancy or piquancy of expression. He was harshly 
treated by some of his contemporaries, but he owed 
them nothing on this account, giving them as good as 
they sent in the way of invective or sarcasm. The bitter \ 
personalities of literary men at that time were owing in 
part to an evil fashion then prevalent. The duelling 
and street fights among politicians had their counter 
part in the shedding of vitriolic ink among the literati, 
great and small. Poe only differed from the rest in 
that he had a sharper thrust and a surer aim. 

" The Richmond Examiner was just then achiev 
ing its first and winning distinction as an able and 
ultra advocate of State Rights politics. John C. Cal- 
houn was the leader, and the young chivalry of the 
South made a following that was heroic, and that did 
not stop to count the cost. The Examiner was 
their organ in Virginia and a live organ it was. 
John M. Daniel, its editor-in-chief, wrote political 
leaders that were logic and rhetoric on fire. Robert 
W. Hughes discussed in good English economic ques 
tions from the standpoint of his time and his section. 
Arthur E. Petticolas wrote concerning art with much 
enthusiasm and some show of culture. Patrick Henry 
Aylett, a kinsman of the great orator of the Revolu 
tion, whose Christian name he bore, with a free hand 


touched up current politics and living politicians. 
Aylett was a picturesque Virginian of that time a 
man nearly seven feet high, who had something of the 
eloquence of his renowned ancestor, and the easy 
swing of a man of the people, a man who believed 
with all his heart in the Revolution of 98 and 99, 
and uniformly voted the straight Democratic ticket. 
Mr. Poe now and then contributed a literary article 
critical and peculiar, unmistakably his own. There 
were others who wrote for the Examiner 
among them a youth who felt called upon to expound 
oracularly certain controverted Constitutional questions 
that Clay, Calhoun and Webster had failed to settle. 
He was a young man then, and need not be named 

" Poe and Daniel were often together, and I was not 
surprised when informed that arrangements had been 
made by which the former was soon to become the 
literary editor of the Examiner, was talked of in 
newspaper circles, and much satisfaction expressed by 
the initiated, who regarded it as a transaction promis 
ing good things for Southern journalism and literature. 
The * Examiner, the new star in the journalistic 
firmament, was expected to blaze with added lustre 
and fill all the South with the illumination. 

" Poe had the sensitive organization of a man of 
genius, to whom alcoholic stimulation brings madness; 
for such there is no middle ground between total ab 
stinence and inebriety. By the persuasion of friends 
he was induced to take a pledge of total abstinence 
from all intoxicating drinks. There is no reason to 
doubt his sincerity. His sad face took on a more 
hopeful expression ; with a new hope in his. heart he 
was about to make a new start in life. ; It was an- 


nounced that he would soon make a visit to New York // 
to close out hk.affairs there, preparatory to his entrance 
upon his nw engagement at Richmond. With a view 
to giving mm pecuniary assistance in a delicate way, 
and an expression of the good will of the Richmond 
public toward him, Poe was invited to deliver a lecture 
on some topic to be chosen by himself. The tickets 
were placed at five dollars each, and at that price three 
hundred persons were packed into the assembly rooms / 
of the old Exchange Hotel. The lecture prepared for \f 
that occasion was on The Poetic Principle, and it 
was read by him as it is now presented in his works. 
He was a charming reader, his manner the opposite of 
the elocutionary or sensational quiet, without gesture, / 
with distinctness of utterance, nice shadings of accent, 
easy gracefulness, and that indefinable element that 
draws the hearer toward the speaker with increasing 
good will and pleasure. I am glad that I heard Poe read 
that lecture ; its sentences on the printed page have for 
me an added charm from the recollection. The net pro 
ceeds of the lecture amounted to fifteen hundred dollars. 
There was a touch of old Virginia in the way this was 
done. There is some of that old Virginia still left. The 
Virginia of that day and this will demonstrate their 
identity in the outcome of the movement to provide 
here at your university a suitable memorial of her most 
distinguished alumnus. 

"With the proceeds of this lecture in hand, Mr. 
Poe started to New York, but he never made the journey. 
Stopping in Baltimore en route he was invited to a birth 
day party. During the feast the fair hostess asked him 
to pledge with wine ; and he could not refuse. That 
glass of wine was a spark to a powder magazine. He 
went on a debauch, and a few days later died in a 


hospital of mania a potu. On its nearer side death is a 
tragedy whenever, wherever, and however it may come. 
But the tragedy of Poe s death is too deep for words of 
mine. He was only thirty-nine years old. His best 
work ought to have been before him. Had he lived 
and worked with unclouded brain and ardent purpose 
during the tremendous decades that followed, what 
might he not have achieved ! Who can compute the 
loss to our literature from his untimely death ! 

"Go on with your work, gentlemen of the Uni 
versity of Virginia, provide a fitting memorial to Edgar 
Allan Poe, your illustrious son. Young gentlemen of 
the University, do your part in this good work and 
shun the rock on which he was wrecked." * 

Associated with these striking new particulars con 
nected with Poe s last sojourn in the home of his 
youth, may well be added the following statement 
from the gentleman (now living) who administered 
the temperance oath to Poe while he was there. 

Dec. 4, 1900. 


DEAR SIR, Your favor of the a6th ult. I have. I 
regret to say that I fear I can contribute very little that 
will help you in your grand undertaking, that of placing 
fairly before the people the bright side of the character of 
the poet Poe. About fifty years ago I heard Mr. Poe 
deliver a lecture at the Exchange Hotel lecture-room this 
city. I did not meet him again until early in the sum- 

1 Zolnay s bust of Poe was unveiled with brilliant ceremonies 
in the Public Hall of the University, October 7, 1899. Mr. 
Hamilton W. Mabie, the guest of the Poe Association, delivered 
a masterly address on " Poe s Place in American Literature." 


mer of 1 849. He made his home at the old Swan Tavern 
(now standing on Broad Street between Eighth and Ninth 
north side). There he made the acquaintance of some 
member or members of the Division of the Sons of 
Temperance (this was a large organization previous to 
the war of 61 65)5 he was proposed for membership, 
elected, and initiated about the ist of July, 1849. The 
position I held in the Division made it my duty to ad 
minister to the candidate the obligation of total absti 
nence. During his stay in the city of the next three 
months or more there was not the least intimation that 
he had failed to live up to his obligation. In October 
he started to Baltimore (as was reported and generally 
believed to make preparation for his marriage to Mrs. 
Shelton, who as Miss Royster was a sweetheart of earlier 
life). A few days later we heard of his death at a hos 
pital in that city, and the statement was made and too 
busily circulated that his death was the result of a spree 
commenced as soon as he reached Baltimore. We of 
the temperance order to which he belonged exerted our 
selves to get at the facts, and the consensus of opinion 
was that he had not been drinking, but had been drugged. 
A gentleman by the name of Benson, born in Baltimore 
in 1811, and living there until he was twenty -one years 
old, went to Baltimore, and, as he knew Poe and felt 
much interest in the manner of his death, went to the 
hospital at which he died, and had a talk with the doctor 
(an acquaintance), who told him that Poe had not been 
drinking when brought to the hospital, but was under the 
influence of a drug ; he added that he suggested the use 
of stimulants, but that Mr. Poe positively declined tak 
ing any. Mr. Poe lived very quietly while here. Some 
stories were told like the following, showing eccentricity: 
" He left with a Broad Street shoe merchant (who was also 
a member of the above mentioned order, and of the same 
division of which our friend had become a member) a 
pair of boots for repairs. Our shoe merchant was sur 
prised a few mornings later at being knocked up by the 
VOL. i. 21 


poet about two hours before daylight, who had called for 
the boots. He explained that as he was out walking he 
thought to get the boots then would save him another 

I have stated only such facts in regard to Mr. Poe s 
last visit as I was in some manner mixed up with, and 
only wish they were of such a character as to be useful 
to you. 

Very Respectfully Yours, 


Bishop Fitzgerald mentions two important circum 
stances not hitherto known of Poe : that he was to be 
literary editor of "The Examiner " and had already 
contributed critical articles to it, and that be left Rich 
mond with $1,500 in bis pocket. The possession of 
this money throws significant light on the theory that 
he was drugged. 

" The evening of the day," reports Mrs. Weiss, 
" previous to that appointed for his departure from 
V Richmond, Poe spent at my mother s. He declined 
to enter the parlors, where a number of visitors were 
assembled, saying he preferred the more quiet sitting- 
\f room ; and here I had a long and almost uninterrupted 
conversation with him. He spoke of his future, seem 
ing to anticipate it with an eager delight, like that of 
youth. He declared that the last few weeks in the 
society of his old and new friends had been the hap 
piest that he had known for many years, and that 
when he again left New York, he should there leave 
behind all the trouble and vexation of his past life. 
On no occasion had I seen him so cheerful and hope 
ful as on this evening. Do you know, he inquired, 
* how I spent most of this morning ? In writing a 
critique of your poems to be accompanied by a bio- 


graphical sketch. I intend it to be one of my best, 
and that it shall appear in the second number of " The 
Stylus" so confident was he in regard to this 
magazine. In the course of the evening he showed 
me a letter just received from his friend, Dr. Gris- 
wold, in reply to one but recently written by Poe, 
wherein the latter had requested Dr. Griswold in case 
of his sudden death to become his literary executor. 
In this reply, Dr. Griswold accepted the proposal, 
expressing himself as much flattered thereby, and writ 
ing in terms of friendly warmth and interest. It will 
be observed that this statement is a contradiction of 
his statement that previous to Poe s death he had had 
no intimation of the latter s intention of appointing him 
his literary executor. 

" In speaking of his own writings, Poe expressed 
his conviction that he had written his best poems, but 
that in prose he might yet surpass what he had already 
accomplished. He admitted that much which he had 
said in praise of certain writers was not the genuine 
expression of his opinions. . . . You must not judge 
of me by what you find me saying in the magazines. 
Such expressions of opinion are necessarily modified 
by a thousand circumstances, the wishes of editors, 
personal friendship, etc. 

" Poe expressed great regret in being compelled to 
leave Richmond, on even so brief an absence. He 
would certainly, he said, be back in two weeks. 
He thanked my mother with graceful courtesy and ; , 
warmth for her kindness and hospitality, and begged 
that we would write to him in New York, saying it 
would do him good. 

" He was the last of the party to leave the house. 
We were standing on the portico, and after going a \ 


few steps he paused, turned, and again lifted his hat, 
in a last adieu! At the moment, a brilliant meteor 
appeared in the sky directly over his head, and van 
ished in the east. We commented laughingly upon the 
^ r j incident; but I remembered it sadly afterwards." 

The prophetic words of " Ulalume " immediately 
recur : 

" The skies they were ashen and sober 5 
The leaves they were crisped and sere, 
The leaves they were withering and sere ; 
It was night in the lonesome October 
Of my most immemorial year. 

October somehow seems mystically entangled with 
the poet s fate, just as the great dirge of " The Raven, 
which Dore has transformed into a magic and ardent 
Passion Play of Shadow-Land, swarming with the 
>-* mystic imagery of Dreams, seemingly points in its 
" bleak December," to the month in which the 
poet s mother died in Richmond. 

"As he was about to leave Richmond, he turned to 
Mr. Thompson, saying, By the way, you have been 
very kind to me, here is a little trifle that may 
be worth something to you ; and he handed Mr. 
Thompson a small roll of paper, upon which were 
written the exquisite words of Annabel Lee. " l 

Just a little while before, on St. Valentine s Day, 
1849, he wrote to his friend Thomas : "Right glad 
am I to find you once more in a true position in 
the field of Letters. Depend upon it, after all, 
Thomas, Literature is the most noble of professions. 
In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For 
my part, there is no seducing me from the path. I 

1 Gill s Life of Poe : Chatto and Windus : 1878 : p. 231. 


shall be a Litterateur at least all my life ; nor would 
I abandon the hopes which still lead me on for all the 
gold in California [the Argonaut " craze " was just 
then starting and the whole country was aflame with 
fabulous reports from the western Golconda]. Talk 
ing of gold, and of the temptations at present held 
out to poor-devil authors, did it ever strike you that 
all which is really valuable to a man of letters to a 
poet in especial is absolutely unpurchasable ? Love, 
fame, the dominion of intellect, the consciousness of 
power, the thrilling sense of beauty, the free air of 
Heaven, exercise of body and mind, with the physical 
and moral health which result these and such as 
these are really all that a poet cares for: then answer 
me this why should he go to California ? " 

Life seemed bewilderingly bright almost as bright 
as the fairy landscapes of "Arnheim " and "The Island 
of the Fay" painted it now that he had arranged 
with a Mr. E. H. W. Patterson, of Oquawka, Illi 
nois, for the simultaneous publication, in St. Louis and 
New York, of "The Stylus," to appear in July, 
1850. Meanwhile, there were dark sides to the pic 
ture: Mrs. Clemm was actually suffering, as she wrote 
Griswold, for the necessaries of life, and begged a 
small loan from the supposed friend ; neither " Annie 
nor " Estelle " had yet come to the rescue as they 
so nobly did, later. 

But the wedding-ring was ready, and the scene so 
exquisitely pre-figured in "The Bridal Ballad" with 
the situation of bride and groom reversed was about 
to take place : only a dress-coat was still wanting, to 
make Richmond, the scene of the first marriage, the 
scene of a second and happier one. Much, and elo 
quently, as Poe had written against second marriages 


in " Ligeia " for instance, and "The Bridal Bal 
lad he was about to embark on one himself, the 
same match from which, a year before, he had been 
mysteriously recalled by the reception of two anony 
mous stanzas from Mrs. Whitman when he was in 
Richmond on the same mission. Apparently, he did 
not remember his own prophetic and incisive words : 

"Would God I could awaken! 

For I dream I know not how, 
And my soul is sorely shaken 
Lest an evil step be taken, 
Lest the dead who is forsaken 

May not be happy now." 

" The [last] night," continues Mrs. Weiss, "he 
/spent at Duncan s Lodge [the home of the Macken- 
\f zies, who had adopted his sister] ; and as his friends 
said, sat late at his window, meditatively smoking, and 
seemingly disinclined for conversation. On the fol 
lowing morning, he went into the city, accompanied 
by his friends, Dr. Gibbon Carter and Dr. Mackenzie. 
, / The day was passed with them and others of his in 
timate friends. Late in the evening he entered the 
office of Dr. John Carter, and spent an hour in look 
ing over the day s papers; then taking Dr. Carter s 
cane he went out, remarking that he would step across 
to Saddler s (a fashionable restaurant) and get supper. 
From the circumstance of his taking the cane, leaving 
his own in its place, it is probable he had intended 
to return ; but at the restaurant he met with some 
acquaintances who detained him until late, and then 
accompanied him to the Baltimore boat. According 
to their accounts, he was quite sober and cheerful to 
the last, remarking, as he took leave of them, that he 
would soon be in Richmond again." 





ACCORDING to even modern standards, Poe could 
not have reached Baltimore by the James River and 
Chesapeake Bay Patapsco route under from twenty- 
four to twenty-eight hours ; then, when steam navi 
gation was so much slower and more imperfect, it 
must have required much longer. At present a steamer 
leaves Richmond at 6 or 7 A. M. and reaches Old 
Point at 5 or 6 P. M. ; the fast Bay steamers then 
reach Washington about five or six in the morning, the 
Baltimore route being even longer. 

Possibly he met on this rather prolonged and tedious 
water-trip persons who induced him to break his v 
pledge : one does not know. 

The following note from Dr. William Hand Browne 
to the author is self-explanatory and also explanatory 
of the last act in the tragedy : 

" The following is an exact copy of the pencil note 
sent to Dr. Snodgrass to notify him of the condition 
in which Poe was. The writer, J. W. Walker, was 
(I have been informed) a printer of Baltimore. The 
note was copied by myself from the original in the 
possession of Mrs. Snodgrass, widow of Poe s friend. 
Dr. Snodgrass, on receipt of the note, hastened to \j 


attend Poe, and finding him in a dangerous state, had 
him icrnoved to the hospital, where he died. W. H. 

BALTIMORE CITY, 3d, 1849. 

DEAR SIR, There is a gentleman, rather the worse for 
wear, at Ryan s 4th ward polls, who goes under the cogno 
men of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, 
and he says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you he 
is in need of immediate assistance. 

Yours in haste, 

Jos. W. WALKER. 

What preluded the situation above pictured is a 
matter of supposition. One report is that Poe started 
for Philadelphia by rail and got as far as Havre de 
Grace, when, falling into a stupor, he was brought 
back to Baltimore and fell into the hands of political 
toughs at Ryan s Fourth Ward Polls, was drugged, 
and carried round from polls to polls in the interests of 
the Whig party. Dr. Snodgrass s own garrulous and 
garbled account of the affair in "Beadle s Monthly " 
for 1867 "The Facts of Poe s Death and Burial" 
has been shown by an intelligent writer (Mr. 
Spencer) in the New York "Herald," March 27, 
1 88 1, to be wholly untrustworthy. This gentleman 
had the whole Poe-Snodgrass correspondence in his 
possession and copied and printed in "The Herald " 1 
many interesting extracts from it, including the " coop 
letter. We quote from it the following : 

"The compositor (Walker) was well-known among 
the earlier printers upon the Baltimore Sun. He 
was afterwards drowned while swimming in the Spring 

1 Kindly lent the author by Miss A. F. Poe, of Baltimore. 


Gardens. The tavern to which reference was made 
[in Dr. Snodgrass s account] was in East Lombard 
Street, a door or two east of High Street. Dr. Snod- 
grass himself lived on High Street at that time, within 
a block or two of the tavern, and it was probably his 
immediate proximity as much as anything else, which 
prompted Walker to send for him. Poe was mani 
festly very ill, though he did not die until the follow 
ing Sunday morning (this note was written on Wednes- / 
day night) .... It will be noticed that, in spite of 
the fact that Snodgrass had the original of this note in 
his possession, he preferred to quote it from memory, 
and in so doing, utterly perverted its contents. He 
gave the wrong day of the month, the wrong day of 
the week, the wrong name for the tavern, and an ab 
solutely false and illusory statement of the printer s 
representations as to Poe s condition. A gentleman 
rather the worse for wear, who appears in great dis 
tress/ and is in evident need of immediate assist 
ance, is put down as being in a state of beastly 
intoxication and evident destitution. Walker speaks 
of a gentleman and stranger, who is so ill as to excite 
his sympathy and cause alarm ; Snodgrass makes him 
speak of a drunken and penniless loafer. Griswold, 
of course, makes worse out of Snodgrass s bad enough. 
He assigns Thursday, October 4, as the day, speaks 
of a night of exposure and insanity, etc., resolu 
tions and duties forgotten, and all the rest of an in 
famous rigmarole. 

" What are the actual facts in regard to Edgar A. 
Poe s death? The Baltimore < Sun of October 8, 
i 849, has only this announcement : 

" We regret to learn that Edgar A. Poe, Esq., the / 
distinguished American poet, scholar, and critic, died 


in this city yesterday morning, after an illness of 
four or five days. This announcement, coming so 
sudden and unexpected, will cause poignant regret 
among all who admire genius and have sympathies 
for the frailties too often attending it. Mr. Poe, we 
believe, was a native of this State, though reared by a 
foster-father at Richmond, Va., where he lately spent 
some time on a visit. He was in the thirty-eighth 
year of his age. 

"Let us suppose," continues Mr. Spencer, not 

; noticing the errors as to the place and time of Foe s 

j birth, " that Poe arrived in Baltimore on Wednes- 

- day, October 3, 1849, not entirely free from the 

effects of bad hours in the capital of Virginia. He 

must have reached the city in the forenoon, and, 

whether he came by rail or by steamboat, he would have 

naturally and almost instinctively gone to the United 

States Hotel (the present Maltby House), opposite 

which, at that time, was the depot of the Baltimore 

and Ohio Railroad. 

" Poe was a Whig in politics. There was an elec 
tion going on that day, a very wet and disagreeable 
one, for members of Congress and members of the 
^* State Legislature. If Poe had been drinking at all, 
and it is altogether likely that he had, he would talk, 
and on election day all men talk politics. 

" Eight blocks east of the hotel where he [presum 
ably] was, was High Street, and in the rear of an 
engine-house in this vicinity the Fourth Ward Club, 
a notorious Whig organization, had their coop. 
There was no registry of voters at this time in Balti 
more, and almost any one could vote who was willing 
to face the ordeal of a challenge and the oath ad 
ministered by a judge of elections. Hence, personal 


voting material was valuable, and the roughs of the 
period, instead of acting as rounders themselves, used 
to capture and coop innocent strangers and foreigners, 
drug them with bad whiskey and opiates, and send 
them round to the different voting-places under custody 
of one or two of their party, to help the cause. The 
system of cooping probably culminated in this year, 
1849, and, if the writer s memory does not play him 
a trick, the < coop of the Democrats on Lexington 
Street, near Eutaw, in the rear of the New Market 
engine-house, had 75 prisoners, while that of the 
Whigs, on High Street, had 130 to 140 the equiv 
alent of 600 votes. 

"The prisoners in these coops/ chiefly foreigners, 
strangers, countrymen, fared wretchedly. They were 
often, at the outstart, and in the most unexpected way, 
drugged with opiates and such other delirifaciants as 
would be most likely to keep them from being trouble 
some and prevent them from resenting their outrageous 
treatment. They were thrust into cellars and back 
yards, and kept under lock and key, without light, 
without beds, without provisions for decency, without 
food. Only one thing they were supplied with, and 
that was a sufficient deluge of whiskey to keep their 
brains all the time sodden, and prevent them from im 
parting intelligibility to their complaints. 

"The Whig coop in the Fourth Ward, on High 
Street, was within two squares of the place where Poe 
was found. It is altogether possible . . . that 
Poe was cooped and that his outlaw custodians, 
discovering too late the disastrous effects of their infa 
mous decoctions upon the delicate tissues and convolu 
tions of his finely organized brain, sought to repair some 
of the damage they had done, and caused in quiry to be 


made for the friends of the man they had murdered. 
Too late ! 

"Poe was taken that night to the hospital, which is 
now called the Church Home * (on North Broad 
way), suffering from a violent brain fever of a conges 
tive character. He never recovered consciousness, he 
made no dying speeches and remarks, and his little 
candle, which now shines so far, went out very briefly 
about daybreak on Sunday morning, October 7." 

Such were in all probability the environing circum 
stances of the death of the great lyrist. 

Of Dr. J. J. Moran s account of the poet s last 
hours and his dying declarations, 1 written thirty-five 
years after the events, one can say that it is romanti 
cally interesting, but not convincing. Judge Neilson 
Poe, his third cousin, who was at the hospital con 
stantly until he died, asserted that he never regained 
consciousness. Dr. Snodgrass, who wrote in 1867, 
seventeen years after the catastrophe, asserts that he 
was conscious, and adds (if we may believe them) 
the following particulars : 

" The Washington Hospital having been fixed upon, 
a messenger was despatched to procure a carriage. 
While awaiting its arrival, I had an opportunity to ob 
serve more closely than I had taken time to do pre 
viously, the condition and apparel of the strangely 
metamorphosed being in the bar-room who wore a 
name which was a synonym for genius the first 
glance at whose tout ensemble was well calculated to 
recall Poe s own so frequently hinted doctrine of the 

1 A Defence of Edgar Allan Poe : Life, Character, and Dying 
Declarations of the Poet : An Official Account of his Death by his 
Attending Physician, John J. Moran, M.D., Washington, D.C. : 


metempsychosis. His face was haggard, not to say 
bloated and unwashed, his hair unkempt, and his 
whole physique repulsive. His expansive forehead, 
with its wonderful breadth between the points where 
the phrenologists locate the organ of ideality the 
widest I ever measured and that full-orbed and 
mellow yet soulful eye, for which he was so notice 
able when himself, now lustreless and vacant, as 
shortly I could see, were shaded from view by a rusty, 
almost brimless, tattered and ribbonless palm-leaf hat. 
His clothing consisted of a sack-coat of thin and slazy 
black alpaca, ripped more or less at several of its 
seams, and faded and soiled, and pants of a steel-mixed 
pattern of cassinette, half-worn and badly-fitting, if 
they could be said to fit at all. He wore neither vest 
nor neck-cloth, while the bosom of his shirt was both 
crumpled and badly soiled. On his feet were boots 
of coarse material, and giving no sign of having been 
blacked for a long time, if at all. 

" The carriage having arrived, we tried to get the 
object of our care upon his feet, so that he might the 
more easily be taken to it. But he was past locomotion. 
We therefore carried him to the coach as if he were a 
corpse, and lifted him in in the same manner. While 
we were doing this, what was left of one of the most 
remarkable embodiments of genius the world has pro 
duced in all the centuries of its history the author of 
a single poem which alone has been adjudged by more 
than one critic as entitling its producer to a lasting and 
enviable fame was so utterly voiceless as to be 
capable of only muttering some scarcely intelligible 
oaths, and other forms of imprecation upon those 
who were trying to rescue him from destitution and 


" The carriage was driven directly to the hospital, 
where its unconscious occupant was assigned to the 
care of its intelligent and kindly resident physician 
[Dr. J. J. Moran] . 

"... He lived nearly a week, instead of dying 
next day, as one account has it, or in a few hours, 
as another records it, dying on the yth of the same 
month, Monday [Sunday] . Besides, it might convey 
the idea that he had no lucid moments. But he had, 
and in one of these an incident transpired which, while 
its mention may serve to extend the already long, as 
well as interesting record of the last words of noted 
men, it will be recognized as anything but character 
istic of Mr. Poe, who was always haunted by a terri 
ble though vague apprehension of death and the grave. 
When the hospital physician became satisfied that the 
author of William Wilson a favorite tale of Mr. 
Poe and of < The Raven had written his last 
story and his last poem, he addressed him concernedly 
and kindly, saying : Mr. Poe, it is my painful duty 
to inform you that you have, in my judgment, only a 
very short time to live. If you have any friends whom 
you would like to see, name them, and your wish shall 
be gratified ; I will summon them. 

" < Friends ! exclaimed the dying son of genius 
friends ! repeating the word for a moment as if it 
had no longer a definite meaning ; { my best friend 
would be he who would take a pistol and blow out 
these d d wretched brains! pressing his hand to his 
forehead as he uttered the awful imprecation." 

Fortunately, however, we are not dependent upon 
Dr. Snodgrass s harrowing account as our sole testi 
mony for Poe s last hours : there is in existence a let 
ter from Dr. J. J. Moran to Mrs. Clemm, written five 


or six weeks after the event, which gives an account 
of bare facts without the romantic coloring of Dr. 
Moran s later statement, at the same time relieving 
the sufferer of the stain of dying with an imprecation 
on his lips : 

November 15, 49. 


MY DEAR MADAM, I take the earliest opportunity 
of responding to yours of the gth inst., which came to 
hand by yesterday s mail. . . . 

But now for the required intelligence. Presuming you 
are already aware of the malady of which Mr. Poe died, 
I need only state concisely the particulars of his circum 
stances from his entrance until his decease. 

When brought to the hospital he was unconscious of 
his condition who brought him or with whom he had 
been associating. He remained in this condition from 
five o clock in the afternoon the hour of his admis 
sion until three next morning. This was on the 3d 

To this state succeeded tremor of the limbs, and at 
first a busy but not violent or active delirium constant 
talking and vacant converse with spectral and imagi 
nary objects on the walls. His face was pale and his 
whole person drenched in perspiration. We were un 
able to induce tranquillity before the second day after his 

Having left orders with the nurses to that effect, I 
was summoned to his bedside so soon as consciousness 
supervened, and questioned him in reference to his family, 
place of residence, relatives, etc. But his answers were 
incoherent and unsatisfactory. He told me, however, 
he had a wife in Richmond (which I have since learned 
was not the fact), that he did not know when he left that 
city, or what had become of his trunk of clothing. 
Washing to rally and sustain his now fast sinking hopes, 


I told him I hoped that in a few days he would be able 
to enjoy the society of his friends here, and I would be 
most happy to contribute in every possible way to his 
ease and comfort. At this he broke out with much 
energy, and said the best thing his best friend could do 
would be to blow out his brains with a pistol that 
when he beheld his degradation, he was ready to sink into 
the earth, etc. Shortly after giving expression to these 
words, Mr. Poe seemed to doze, and I left him for a 
short time. When I returned I found him in a violent 
delirium, resisting the efforts of two nurses to keep him 
in bed. This state continued until Saturday evening (he 
was admitted on Wednesday), when he commenced call 
ing for one " Reynolds," 1 which he did through the night 
until three on Sunday morning. At this time a very 
decided change began to affect him. Having become 
enfeebled from exertion, he became quiet, and seemed to 
rest for a short time ; then gently moving his head, he 
said, " Lord help my poor soul!" and expired. 

This, Madam, is as faithful an account as I am able 
to furnish from the Record of his case. 

. . . His remains were visited by some of the first 
individuals of the city, many of them anxious to have a 
lock of his hair. . . . 

Respectfully yours, 

J. J. MORAN, Res. P/tys. 2 

His relatives, Judge Neilson Poe and Mr. Henry 
Herring, took charge of the remains, which were 
buried Monday afternoon in the churchyard attached 
to Westminster Presbyterian Church, corner of Fay- 
ette and Greene Streets, the Rev. W. T. D. Clemm 

1 This Reynolds may have been the author of the "Address on 
the South Sea Expedition" a project in which Poe was deeply 
interested and which doubtless gave him ideas for f Arthur Gordon 

2 Miss A. F. Poe, MS. 


reading the burial service of the Methodist Episcopal 
church. Only a few friends witnessed the solemn 
rites, among them his class-mate at the University of 
Virginia, Hon. Z. Collins Lee, Poe s cousin, Edmund 
Smith, Dr. Snodgrass, the officiating clergyman, and 
Mr. N. Poe. 

His trunk and clothes were sought in vain : they 
had most probably been stolen. 

The writer is enabled to supplement these state 
ments by the following interesting recollections of 
Mrs. J. J. Moran, furnished him by her nephew, Mr. 
J. B. Green, of the University of Virginia: 

" Mrs. Mary O. Moran, wife of the physician in 
charge of Washington College Hospital, Baltimore, 
where Poe died, made substantially the following 
statement as to his last hours. * When the young man 
was brought into the hospital in a stupor, it was sup 
posed he was overcome by drink. It was election 
time, and the city was very disorderly. We soon saw 
he was a gentleman ; and as our family lived in a 
wing of the college building, the doctor had him 
taken to a room easily reached by a passage from our 
wing. I helped to nurse him here, and during an 
interval of consciousness he asked if there was any 
hope for him. Thinking he referred to his physical 
condition, I said, "My husband thinks you are very 
ill, and if you have any directions to give regarding 
your affairs I will write them down." He replied, 
" I meant, hope for a wretch like me, beyond this 
life." I assured him that the Great Physician said 
there was. I then read him the fourteenth chapter of 
St. John s Gospel, gave him a quieting draught, wiped 
the beads of perspiration from his face, smoothed his 
pillow, and left him. Not long afterwards they 
VOL. i. 22 


brought me a message that he was dead. I made his 
shroud and helped to prepare his body for burial. " 

"It is impossible, * says Mr. Ingram, in conclud 
ing his sympathetic Memoir the fullest and best 
of the biographies of Poe " to conceive the horror 
and heart-rending grief of Mrs. Clemm when the 
intelligence of Poe s death was conveyed to her. She 
was awaiting his arrival, to bear her away to her 
native South, and instead of welcoming an affectionate 
son happy in the prospect of an anticipated mar 
riage and a prosperous future she received the tid 
ings of his terrible and mysterious death. In the 
first moments of her loneliness and anguish she wrote 
to her best friend, for sympathy, in these terms : 

Oct. 8, 1849. 

Annie, my Eddy is dead. He died in Baltimore 
yesterday. Annie ! pray for me, your desolate friend. 
My senses nvill leave me. I will write the moment I 
hear the particulars. I have written to Baltimore. Write 
and advise me what to do. 

Your distracted friend, 

M. C. 

" Writing again on the 1 3th ol October to the 
same faithful friend, Mrs. Clemm says : 

" MY OWN DEAREST ANNIE, I am not deceived 
in you. You still wish your poor desolate friend to 
come to you. ... I have written to poor Elmira [Mrs. 
Shelton], and have to wait for her answer. They are 
already making arrangements to publish the works of my 
darling lost one. I have been waited on by several gen 
tlemen, and have finally arranged with Mr. Griswold to 
arrange and bring them out, and he wishes it done imme 
diately. Mr. Willis is to share with him this labor of 


love. They say that I am to have the entire proceeds, 
so you see, Annie, I will not be entirely destitute. I 
have had many letters of condolence, and one which has, 
indeed, comforted me. Neilson Poe, of Baltimore, has 
written to me, and says he died in the Washington Med 
ical College, not the Hospital, and of congestion of the 
brain, and not of what the vile, vile papers accuse him. 
He had many kind friends with him, and was attended 
to his grave by the literati of Baltimore, and many 
friends. Severe excitement (and no doubt some impru 
dence) brought this on ; he never had one interval of 
reason. . . . Never, oh, never, will I see those dear 
lovely eyes. I feel so desolate, so wretched, friendless, 
and alone. , " 1 

The poor old woman, now advanced in years, 
became literally a wanderer on the face of the earth, 
accepting, first, the hospitality of "Annie/ at Lowell, 
Mass., with whom she resided for a few months 
("years," says Ingram), and then staying with 
"Stella," in Brooklyn, until I 858, 2 when she removed 
to Baltimore. There she died in " the Church 
Home and Infirmary," February 16, 1871, more 
than 80 years of age the very place where her 
"Eddy" had died. 

At Poe s death a few papers and articles of a mis 
cellaneous nature were found in the hands of publishers 
and editors, and two of his most striking poems 
"The Bells" and "Annabel Lee" came sud 
denly to the surface, drawn thither by the solemn 
reverberation of the news of the poet s death. " Sar- 
tain s Union Magazine " for November contained the 
final version of "The Bells," the design of which, 

1 Ingram, II. p. 239. 

2 Edgar Allan Poe : A Memorial Volume : 1875 : p. 86. 


as he informed the poet Thompson, was "to express 
in language the exact sounds of bells to the ear"; 
and the "Southern Literary Messenger " for November 
contained "Annabel Lee," prefaced by the following 
words : 

" The day before he [Poe] left Richmond, he 
placed in our hands for publication in the Messenger 
the MS. of his last poem, which has since found its 
way (through a correspondent of a northern paper 
with whom Mr. Poe had left a copy) into the news 
paper press, and been extensively circulated. As it 
was designed for this magazine, however, we publish 
it, even though all of our readers may have seen it 
before." 1 

It seems strange that this tender and beautiful ballad 
should appear in " The Tribune " for Oct. 9, 1849, 
almost side by side with the attack on Poe s memory 
now known to have been written by Griswold a 
poem in every line refuting the anonymous assault 
whose "intense energy of delineation " is pronounced 
"a piece of writing that has the power of genius and 
cannot be forgotten while his memory lives." 

In "Graham s" for January, 1850, appeared a 
paper " On Critics and Criticism," and this was fol 
lowed in October by "The Poetic Principle, * in 
" Sartain s Union Magazine" ; completing the tally of 
Poe s works which, even after death, streamed forth in 
these puissant channels and taught the world not only 
what he conceived to be the true theory of poetry but 
exemplified it in two wondrous poems. "The singu 
lar and exquisite genius of Poe," as Swinburne calls 
it, was thus singular and exquisite to the last breath. 

1 So. Lit. Mess. The Late Edgar A. Poe: Nov. 1849, p. 697. 




THE following document possesses a curious in 
terest, being Poe s own account of his early life as 
furnished by him to Dr. Rufus Wilmot Griswold. 
The MS. is in the possession of Mrs. Wm. M. 
Griswold, of Cambridge, Mass., daughter-in-law of 
Dr. Griswold, by whose courtesy it is here printed 
for the first time. The reader should compare it 
with the letter by Poe on his ancestry to be found 
in our Volume XVII., dated August 20, 1835. 

The Memorandum abounds in inaccuracies. The 
birth-date is wrong by two years : Poe was born in 
1809. The elder Mrs. Poe did not die of "con 
sumption" but of pneumonia. Mr. Allanjnever le 
gally f f adopted Poe, b.ut befriended and reare3TIiim 
and gave him a home. This statement is confirmed 
by Mrs. S. A. Weiss and Dr. John F. Carter, who 
are still living and who knew Poe and the Allans inti 
mately. Poe remained only one year (1826, not 
1825) at the University oTTirginia, not "three/ 
as he states in the Memorandum. The University of 
Virginia never had a "president; " its executive offi 
cer is the Chairman of the Faculty. The runaway 
trip to Russia is altogether mythical : Poe was a pri 
vate and then a sergeant-major in the UnitecT States 
army, under the name of Edgar A. Perry, from May 
26, 1827, to April 15, 1829, when, having supplied 
a substitute, he was honorably discharged. Mr. Allan 


was not so old as Poe makes him out to be on his sec 
ond marriage, and he left three children, not " one 
son," to inherit his large estate. It would be most 
interesting to know what two British journals " Poe 
" wrote continuously for, " " whose names he was not 
permitted to mention." No traces of these contri 
butions have been found ; perhaps they were never 


Memo. Born January, 1 8 1 1 . Family one of the 
oldest and most respectable in Baltimore. Gen. David 
Poe, my paternal grandfather, was a quarter-master 
general, in the Maryland line, during the Revolution, 
and the intimate friend of Lafayette, who, during his 
visit to the U. S., called personally upon the Gen. s 
widow, and tendered her his warmest acknowledg 
ments for the services rendered him by her husband. 
His father, John Poe, married, in England, Jane, a 
daughter of Admiral James McBride, noted in British 
naval history, and claiming kindred with many of the 
most illustrious houses of Great Britain. My father 
and mother died within a few weeks of each other, 
of consumption, leaving me an orphan at two years of 
age. Mr. John Allan, a very wealthy gentleman of 
Richmond, Va., took a fancy to me, and persuaded 
my grandfather, Gen. Poe, to suffer him to adopt 
me. Was brought up in Mr. A. s family, and re 
garded always as his son and heir he having no 
other children. In 1816 went with Mr. A. s family 
to G. Britain visited every portion of it went to 
school for 5 years to the Rev. Doctor Bransby, at 
Stoke Newington, then 4 miles from London. Re- 


turned to America in 1822. In 1825 went to the 
Jefferson University at Charlottesville, Va., where for 
3 years I led a very dissipated life the college at 
that period being shamefully dissolute. Dr. Dungli- 
son of Philadelphia, President. Took the first honors, 
however, and came home greatly in debt. Mr. A. 
refused to pay some of the debts of honor, and I ran 
away from home without a dollar on a quixotic expe 
dition to join the Greeks, then struggling for liberty. 
Failed in reaching Greece, but made my way to St. 
Petersburg, in Russia. Got into many difficulties, 
but was extricated by the kindness of Mr. H. Middle- 
ton, the American consul at St. P. Came home safe 
in 1829, found Mrs. A. dead, and immediately went 
to West Point as a Cadet. In about 18 months 
afterwards Mr. A. married a second time (a Miss 
Patterson, a near relative of Gen. Winfield Scott) 
he being then 65 years of age. Mrs. A. and myself 
quarrelled, and he, siding with her, wrote me an 
angry letter, to which I replied in the same spirit. 
Soon afterwards he died, having had a son by Mrs. 
A., and, although leaving a vast property, bequeathed 
me nothing. The army does not suit a poor man 
so I left W. Point abruptly, and threw myself upon 
literature as a resource. I became first known to the 
literary world thus. A Baltimore weekly paper (The 
Visiter) offered two premiums one for best prose 
story, one for best poem. The Committee awarded 
both to me, and took occasion to insert in the journal 
a card, signed by themselves, in which I was very 
highly flattered. The Committee were John P. Ken 
nedy (author of Horse-Shoe Robinson), J. H. B. 
Latrobe and Dr. I. H. Miller. Soon after this I was 
invited by Mr. T. W. White, proprietor of the 


South. Lit. Messenger, to edit it. Afterwards wrote 
for New York Review at the invitation of Dr. Hawks 
and Professor Henry, its proprietors. Lately have 
written articles continuously for two British journals 
whose names I am not permitted to mention. In my 
engagement with Burton, it was not my design to let 
my name appear but he tricked me into it. 

Written on half sheet evidently used for an en 
velope, marks of seal left on back, stamp, " (paid) 
i J. B." x part of an address, severed by scissors-cut : 
"Id, Esare., 


Mass." T 



THE late Edgar Allan Poe, who was the husband 
of my only daughter, the son of my eldest brother, 
and more than a son to myself, in his long continued 
and affectionate observance of every duty to me, 
under an impression that he might be called suddenly 
from the world, wrote (just before he left his home in 
Fordham, for the last time, on the 29th of June, I 849) 
requests that the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold should act 
as his Literary Executor, and superintend the publica 
tion of his works ; and that N. P. Willis, Esq., 
should write such observations upon his life and char 
acter, as he might deem suitable to address to thinking 
men, in vindication of his memory. 

These requests he made with less hesitation, and 

1 This edition of Poe s works was copyrighted by J. S. Red- 
field in 1849, appearing first in two volumes, then with a third 
volume containing the notorious Memoir, and finally ending with 
a fourth and last volume in 1856. It will be noticed that Mrs. 
Clemm s preface is prefixed gratefully to the volumes that had no 
Memoir, she apparently never having been cognizant of Griswold s 
intention to write her nephew s life : Mrs. Estelle Anna Lewis 
had been specially requested by Poe himself, when they parted, to 
do this, and N. P. Willis had been invited to assist with a bio 
graphical Notice. This appeared in "The Home Journal" the 
Saturday afrer Poe died, and is incorporated with James Russell 
Lowell s sketch in the 1849 edition. See succeeding pages for the 
Griswold, Willis, and Lowell articles. 

What must have been the poor lady s horror and indignation 
when she read the Memoir, "a concentration of hatred and malice 
that had already done duty ... in the * International Maga 
zine " ! After reading it, she never ceased to speak of its author 
as that villain. ED. 


with confidence that they would be fulfilled, from his 
knowledge of these gentlemen ; and he many times 
expressed a gratification of such an opportunity of de 
cidedly and unequivocally certifying his respect for the 
literary judgment and integrity of Mr. Griswold, with 
whom his personal relations, on account of some un 
happy misunderstanding, had for years been inter 

In this edition of my son s works, which is pub 
lished for my benefit, it is a great pleasure for me to 
thank Mr. Griswold and Mr. Willis for their prompt 
fulfilment of the wishes of the dying poet, in labors 
which demanded much time and attention, and which 
they have performed without any other recompense 
than the happiness which rewards acts of duty and 
kindness. I add to these expressions of gratitude to 
them, my acknowledgments to J. R. Lowell, Esquire, 
for his notices of Mr. Poe s genius and writings which 
are here published. MARIA CLEMM. 

BY R. W. GRiswoLD. 1 

[New York Tribune (Evening Edition), October 9, 1849.] 

Edgar Allan Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore 
the day before yesterday. This announcement will 

1 On April 2, 1850, Walter Colton wrote to Griswold as fol 
lows: "1 have read your criticism on E. A. Poe; it is terrific, 
but not more so than the moral aspects of your subject. In lit 
erary execution it rivals the best passages in Macaulay. I knew 


startle many, but few will be grieved by it. The poet 
was well known personally or by reputation, in all 
this country ; he had readers in England, and in sev 
eral of the states of Continental Europe ; but be bad 
few or no friends ; and the regrets for his death will 
be suggested principally by the consideration that in 
him literary art lost one of its most brilliant, but erratic 

The family of Mr. Poe, we learn from Griswold s 
"Poets and Poetry of America," from which a con 
siderable portion of the facts in this notice are derived, 
was one of the oldest and most respectable in Balti 
more. David Poe, his paternal grandfather, was a 
Quartermaster-General in the Maryland line during 
the Revolution, and the intimate friend of Lafayette, 
who during his last visit to the United States, called 
personally upon the General s widow, and tendered 
her acknowledgments for the services rendered to him 
by her husband. His great-grandfather, John Poe, 
married in England, Jane, a daughter of Admiral 
James McBride, noted in British naval history, and 
claiming kindred with some of the most illustrious 
English families. His father and mother, both of 
whom were in some way connected with the theatre, 
and lived as precariously as their more gifted, and 
more eminent son, died within a few weeks of each 
other, of consumption, leaving him an orphan at two 
years of age. Mr. John Allan, a wealthy gentleman 
of Richmond, took a fancy to him, and persuaded his 
grandfather to suffer him to adopt him. He was 
brought up in Mr. Allan s family ; and as that gentle- 
something of POP something of the unfathomed gulfs of dark 
ness out of which the lightning of his genius sent its scorching 
flashes. ..." 


man had no other children, he was regarded as his 
son and heir. In 1 8 1 6 he accompanied Mr. and 
Mrs. Allan to Great Britain, visited every portion of 
it, and afterward passed four or five years in a school 
kept at [Stoke] Newington, near London, by Rev. 
Dr. Bransby. He returned to America in 1822, and 
in 1825 went to the Jefferson University, at Charlottes- 
ville, in Virginia, where he led a very dissipated life, 
the manners of the College at that time being extremely 
dissolute. He took the first honors, however, and 
went home greatly in debt. Mr. Allan refused to 
pay some of his debts of honor, and he hastily quitted 
the country on a quixotic expedition to join the 
Greeks, then struggling for liberty. He did not 
reach his original destination, however, but made his 
way to St. Petersburg, in Russia, when he became in 
volved in difficulties, from which he was extricated by 
the late Henry Middleton, the American Minister at 
that Capital. He returned home in 1829, and imme 
diately afterwards entered the Military Academy at 
West- Point. In about eighteen months from that 
time, Mr. Allan, who had lost his first wife while 
Mr. Poe was in Russia, married again. He was 
sixty-five years of age, and the lady was young ; Poe 
quarrelled with her, and the veteran husband, taking 
the part of his wife, addressed him an angry letter, 
which was answered in the same spirit. He died soon 
after, leaving an infant son heir to his property, and 
bequeathing Poe nothing. 

The army, in the opinion of the young poet, was 
not a place for a poor man ; so he left West Point 
abruptly, and determined to maintain himself by au 
thorship. He printed, in 1827, a small volume of 
poems, most of which were written in early youth. 


Some of these poems are quoted in a reviewal by Mar 
garet Fuller, in The Tribune in 1 846, and are justly 
regarded as among the most wonderful exhibitions of 
the precocious developments of genius. They illus 
trated the character of his abilities, and justified his 
anticipations of success. For a considerable time, 
however, though he wrote readily and brilliantly, his 
contributions to the journals attracted little attention, 
and his hopes of gaining a livelihood by the profession 
of literature was nearly ended at length in sickness, 
poverty and despair. 

But in 1 83 1, 1 the proprietor of a weekly gazette, 
in Baltimore, offered two premiums, one for the best 
story in prose, and the other for the best poem. 

In due time Poe sent in two articles, and he waited 
anxiously for the decision. One of the Committee 
was the accomplished author of " Horseshoe Robin 
son," John P. Kennedy, and his associates were 
scarcely less eminent than he for wit and critical sagac 
ity. Such matters were usually disposed of in a very 
off-hand way ; committees to award literary prizes 
drink to the payer s health, in good wines, over the un- 
examined MSS., which they submit to the discretion 
of the publisher, with permission to use their names 
in such a way as to promote the publisher s advan 
tage. So it would have been in this case, but that one 
of the Committee, taking up a small book, in such ex 
quisite caligraphy as to seem like one of the finest issues 
of the press of Putnam, was tempted to read several 
pages, and being interested, he summonsed the atten 
tion of the company to the half-dozen compositions in 
the volume. It was unanimously decided that the 
i 1833. ED. 


prizes should be paid to the first of geniuses who 
had written legibly. Not another MS. was unfolded. 
Immediately the confidential envelope was opened, 
and the successful competitor was found to bear the 
scarcely known name of Poe. 

The next day the publisher called to see Mr. Ken 
nedy, and gave him an account of the author that ex 
cited his curiosity and sympathy, and caused him to 
request that he should be brought to his ofHce. Ac 
cordingly he was introduced ; the prize money had 
not yet been paid, and he was in the costume in 
which he had answered the advertisement of his good 
fortune. Thin, and pale even to ghastliness, his 
whole appearance indicated sickness and the utmost 
destitution. A tattered frock-coat concealed the ab 
sence of a shirt, and the ruins of boots disclosed more 
than the want of stockings. But the eyes of the young 
man were luminous with intelligence and feeling, and 
his voice and conversation, and manners, all won upon 
the lawyer s regard. Poe told his history, and his am 
bitions, and it was determined that he should not want 
means for a suitable appearance in society, nor oppor 
tunity for a just display of his abilities in literature. 
Mr. Kennedy accompanied him to a clothing store, 
and purchased for him a respectable suit, with changes 
of linen, and sent him to a bath, from which he re 
turned with the suddenly regained bearing of a gentle 

The late Mr. Thomas W. White had then recently 
established The Southern Literary Messenger, at Rich 
mond, and upon the warm recommendation of Mr. 
Kennedy, Poe was engaged at a small salary we 
believe of $500 a year to be its editor. He en 
tered upon his duties with letters full of expressions of 


the warmest gratitude to his friends in Baltimore, who 
in five or six weeks were astonished to learn that with 
characteristic recklessness of consequence, he was hur 
riedly married to a girl as poor as himself. Poe con 
tinued in this situation for about a year and a half, in 
which he wrote many brilliant articles, and raised the 
Messenger to the first rank of literary periodicals. 

He next removed to Philadelphia, to assist William 
E. Burton in the editorship of the Gentleman s Maga 
zine, a miscellany that in 1840 was merged in Gra 
ham s Magazine, of which Poe became one of the 
principal writers, particularly in criticism, in which 
his papers attracted much attention by their careful and 
skilful analysis, and general caustic severity. At this 
period, however, he appeared to have been more am 
bitious of securing distinction in romantic fiction, and 
a collection of his compositions in this department, pub 
lished in i 84 1, 1 under the title of Tales of the Gro 
tesque and the Arabesque, established his reputation 
for ingenuity, imagination, and extraordinary power 
in tragical narration. 

Near the end of 1844 Poe removed to New York, 
where he conducted for several months a literary mis 
cellany called the Broadway Journal. In 1845 he 
published a volume of "Tales" in Wiley and Put 
nam s " Library of American Books ;" and in the same 
series a collection of his poems. Besides these poems 
he was the author of "Arthur Gordon Pym," a ro 
mance ; "Eureka," an essay on the spiritual and 
material universe ; a work which he wishes to have 
"judged as a poem ; " and several extended series of 
papers in the periodicals, the most noteworthy of which 
are " Marginalia," embracing opinions of books and 

1 1840. ED. 
VOL. i. 23 


authors ; " Secret Writing," "Autography;" and 
"Sketches of the Literati of New York." 

His wife died in 1847, at Fordham, near this city, 
and some of our readers will remember the paragraphs 
in the papers of the time, upon his destitute condition. 
We remember that Col. Webb collected in a few 
moments fifty or sixty dollars for him at the Metropolitan 
Club ; Mr. Lewis, of Brooklyn, sent a similar sum 
from one of the courts, in which he was engaged 
when he saw the statement of the poet s poverty ; and 
others illustrated in the same manner the effect of such 
an appeal to the popular heart. 

Since that time Mr. Poe had lived quietly, and with 
an income from his literary labors sufficient for his sup 
port. A few weeks ago he proceeded to Richmond, 
in Virginia, where he lectured upon the poetical char 
acter, etc. ; and it was understood by some of his 
correspondents here that he was this week to be married, 
most advantageously, to a lady of that city, a widow, 
to whom he had been previously engaged while a stu 
dent in the University. 

The character of Mr. Poe we cannot attempt to 
describe in this very hastily written article. We can 
but allude to some of the more striking phases. 

His conversation was at times almost supra-mortal 
in its eloquence. His voice was modulated with as 
tonishing skill, and his large and variably expressive 
eyes looked repose or shot fiery tumult into theirs who 
listened, while his own face glowed or was changeless 
in pallor, as his imagination quickened his blood, or 
drew it back frozen to his heart. His imagery was 
from the worlds which no mortal can see but with the 
vision of genius. Suddenly starting from a proposition 
exactly and sharply defined in terms of utmost sim- 


plicity and clearness, he rejected the forms of customary 
logic, and in a crystalline process of accretion, built up 
his ocular demonstrations in forms of gloomiest and 
ghostliest grandeur, or in those of the most airy and 
delicious beauty, so minutely, and so distinctly, yet 
so rapidly, that the attention which was yielded to 
him was chained till it stood among his wonderful cre 
ations till he himself dissolved the spell, and brought 
his hearers back to common and base existence, 
by vulgar fancies or by exhibitions of the ignoble 

He was at times a dreamer dwelling in ideal 
realms in heaven or hell, peopled with creations 
and the accidents of his brain. He walked the streets, 
in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indis 
tinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate 
prayers, (never for himself, for he felt, or professed to 
feel, that he was already damned, ) but for their happi 
ness who at that moment were objects of his idolatry; 
or with his glance introverted to a heart gnawed with 
anguish, and with a face shrouded in gloom, he would 
brave the wildest storms ; and all night, with drenched 
garments and arms wildly beating the wind and rain, 
he would speak as if to spirits that at such times only 
could be evoked by him from that Aidenn close by 
whose portals his disturbed soul sought to forget the 
ills to which his constitution subjected him close by 
that Aidenn where were those he loved the Aidenn 
which he might never see but in fitful glimpses, as its 
gates opened to receive the less fiery and more happy 
natures whose listing to sin did not involve the doom 
of death. He seemed, except when some fitful pursuit 
subjected his will and engrossed his faculties, always to 
bear the memory of some controlling sorrow. The re- 


markable poem of The Raven was probably much 
more nearly than has been supposed, even by those 
who were very intimate with him, a reflection and an 
echo of his own history. He was the bird s 

unhappy master, 
Whom unmerciful disaster 
Followed fast and followed faster 
Till his song the burden bore 
Melancholy burden bore 
Of " Nevermore," of " Nevermore." 

Every genuine author in a greater or less degree 
leaves in his works, whatever their design, traces of 
his personal character ; elements of his immortal being, 
in which the individual survives the person. While 
we read the pages of the Fall of the House of Usher, 
or of Mesmeric Revelation, we see in the solemn and 
stately gloom which invests one, and in the subtle 
metaphysical analysis of both, indications of the idio- 
syncracies, of what was most peculiar in the au 
thor s intellectual nature. But we see here only the 
better phases of this nature, only the symbols of his 
juster action, for his harsh experience had deprived 
him of all faith in man or woman. 

He had made up his mind upon the numberless 
complexities of the social world, and the whole sys 
tem was with him an imposture. This conviction 
gave a direction to his shrewd and naturally unamiable 
character. Still though he regarded society as com 
posed of villains, the sharpness of his intellect was not 
of that kind which enabled him to cope with villainy, 
while it continually caused him overshots, to fail of the 
success of honesty. He was in many respects like 
Francis Vivian in Bulwer s novel of the " Caxtons." 
Passion, in him, comprehended many of the worst 


emotions which militate against human happiness. You 
could not contradict him, but you raised quick choler; 
you could not speak of wealth, but his cheek paled 
with gnawing envy. The astonishing natural advan 
tage of this poor boy his beauty, his readiness, the 
daring spirit that breathed around him like a fiery at 
mosphere had raised his constitutional self-confidence 
into an arrogance that turned his very claims to admi 
ration into prejudice against him. Irascible, envious 
bad enough, but not the worst, for these salient angles 
were all varnished over with a cold repellant cynicism 
while his passions vented themselves in sneers. There 
seemed to him no moral susceptibility ; and what was 
more remarkable in a proud nature, little or nothing 
of the true point of honor. He had, to a morbid 
excess, that desire to rise which is vulgarly called 
ambition, but no wish for the esteem or the love of his 
species; only the hard wish to succeed not shine, 
not serve succeed, that he might have the right to 
despise a world which galled his self-conceit. 

We have suggested the influence of his aims and 
vicissitudes upon his literature. It was more conspic 
uous in his later than his earlier writing. Nearly all 
that he wrote in the last two or three years including 
much of his best poetry was in some sense biograph 
ical ; in draperies of his imagination, those who had 
taken the trouble to trace his steps, could perceive, but 
slightly covered, the figure of himself. 

There are perhaps some of our readers who will 
understand the allusions of the following beautiful 
poem. Mr. Poe presented it in MS. to the writer 
of these paragraphs, just before he left New York 
recently, remarking it was the last thing he had 


It was many and many a year ago, 

In this kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know 

By the name of ANNABEL LEE ; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought 

Than to love and be loved by me. 

/was a child and she was a child, 

In this kingdom by the sea ; 
And we loved with a love that was more than love 

I and my ANNABEL LEE ; 
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven 

Coveted her and me. 

And this was the reason that, long ago, 

In this kingdom by the sea, 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 

My beautiful ANNABEL LEE j 
So that her highborn kinsman came 

And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 

In this kingdom by the sea. 

The Angels, not half so happy in heaven, 

Went envying her and me 
Yes ! that was the reason (as all men know, 

In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, 

Chilling and killing my ANNABEL LEE. 

But our love it was stronger by far than love 

Of those who were older than we 

Of many far wiser than we 
And neither the angels in heaven above, 

Nor the demons down under the sea, 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE. 

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams, 

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE 5 
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes 

Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE ; 


And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side 
Of my darling my darling my life and my bride, 

In the sepulchre there by the sea, 

In her tomb by the sounding sea. 

We must omit any particular criticism of Mr. Poe s 
works. As a writer of tales it will be admitted gen 
erally, that he was scarcely surpassed in ingenuity of 
construction or effective painting ; as a critic, he was 
more remarkable as a dissector of sentences than as a 
commenter upon ideas. He was little better than a 
carping grammarian. As a poet, he will retain a most 
honorable rank. Of his "Raven," Mr. Willis ob 
serves, that in his opinion, "it is the most effective 
single example of fugitive poetry ever published in this 
country, and is unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle 
conceptions, masterly ingenuity of versification, and 
consistent sustaining of imaginative lift." In poetry, 
as in prose, he was most successful in the metaphysical 
treatment of the passions. His poems are constructed 
with wonderful ingenuity, and finished with consummate 
art. They illustrate a morbid sensitiveness of feeling, a 
shadowy and gloomy imagination, and a taste almost 
faultless in the apprehension of that sort of beauty most 
agreeable to his temper. 

We have not learned the circumstance of his death. 
It was sudden, and from the fact that it occurred in 
Baltimore, it is presumed that he was on his return to 
New York. 

"After life s fitful fever he sleeps well." 


1 " Diary : Oct. 8 [1849]. Wrote, hastily, two or three col 
umns about Poe, ibr the Tribune. 

Diary: Oct. 16. Call on Mrs. Lewis, to assort, at her 
home, Poe s papers. 

Diary : Oct. 17. The affairs of Poe." Passages from the 
Correspondence of R. W. Griswold : 1898 : p. 2,52-3. 




The ancient fable of two antagonistic spirits im 
prisoned in one body equally powerful and having the 
complete mastery by turns of one man, that is to 
say, inhabited by both a devil and an angel seems 
to have been realized, if all we hear is true, in the 
character of the extraordinary man whose name we 
have written above. Our own impression of the 
nature of Edgar A. Poe differs in some important 
degree, however, from that which has been generally 
conveyed in the notices of his death. Let us, before 
telling what we personally know of him, copy a 
graphic and highly finished portraiture, from the pen 
of Dr. Rufus W. Griswold, which appeared in a 
recent number of the Tribune: 2 

Apropos of the disparaging portion of the above 
well-written sketch, let us truthfully say : 

Some four or five years since, when editing a daily 
paper in this city, Mr. Poe was employed by us, for 
several months, as critic and sub-editor. This was 
our first personal acquaintance with him. He resided 
with his wife and mother at Fordham, a few miles out 
of town, but was at his desk in the office from nine in 
the morning till the evening paper went to press. With 
the highest admiration for his genius, and a willingness 
to let it atone for more than ordinary irregularity, we 
were led by common report to expect a very capri- 

1 These remarks were published by Mr. Willis, in the " Home 
Journal," on the Saturday following Mr. Poe s death. 

2 The preceding Ludwig article. 


cious attention to his duties, and occasionally a scene 
of violence and difficulty. Time went on, however, 
and he was invariably punctual and industrious. With 
his pale, beautiful, and intellectual face as a reminder 
of what genius was in him, it was impossible, of 
course, not to treat him always with deferential cour 
tesy, and to our occasional request that he would not 
probe too deep in a criticism, or that he would erase a 
passage colored too highly with his resentments against 
society and mankind, he readily and courteously as 
sented, far more yielding than most men, we 
thought, on points so excusably sensitive. With a 
prospect of taking the lead in another periodical, he 
at last voluntarily gave up his employment with us, 
and through all this considerable period we had seen 
but one presentment of the man, a quiet, patient, 
industrious, and most gentlemanly person, command 
ing the utmost respect and good feeling by his un 
varying deportment and ability. 

Residing as he did in the country, we never met 
Mr. Poe in hours of leisure ; but he frequently called 
on us afterwards at our place of business, and we met 
him often in the street, invariably the same sad- 
mannered, winning, and refined gentleman such as we 
had always known him. It was by rumor only, up to 
the day of his death, that we knew of any other de 
velopment of manner or character. We heard, from 
one who knew him well (what should be stated in all 
mention of his lamentable irregularities), that, with a 
single glass of wine, his whole nature was reversed, 
the demon became uppermost, and, though none of 
the usual signs of intoxication were visible, his will 
was palpably insane. Possessing his reasoning faculties 
in excited activity at such times, and seeking his ac- 


quaintances with his wonted look and memory, he 
easily seemed personating only another phase of his 
natural character, and was accused, accordingly, of 
insulting arrogance and bad-heartedness. In this re 
versed character, we repeat, it was never our chance 
to see him. We know it from hearsay, and we men- 
don it in connection with this sad infirmity of physical 
constitution, which puts it upon very nearly the ground 
of a temporary and almost irresponsible insanity. 

The arrogance, vanity, and depravity of heart of 
which Mr. Poe was generally accused seem to us 
referable altogether to this reversed phase of his char 
acter. Under that degree of intoxication which only 
acted upon him by demonizing his sense of truth and 
right, he doubtless said and did much that was wholly 
irreconcilable with his better nature ; but when him 
self, and as we knew him only, his modesty and un 
affected humility, as to his own deservings, were 
a constant charm to his character. His letters (of 
which the constant application for autographs has taken 
from us, we are sorry to confess, the greater portion) 
exhibited this quality very strongly. In one of the 
carelessly written notes of which we chance still to 
retain possession, for instance, he speaks of " The 
Raven," that extraordinary poem which electrified 
the world of imaginative readers, and has become the 
type of a school of poetry of its own, and, in evi 
dent earnest, attributes its success to the few words of 
commendation with which we had prefaced it in this 
paper. It will throw light on his sane character to 
give a literal copy of the note : 

FORDHAM, April ao, 1849. 

MY DEAR WILLIS, The poem which I enclose, and 
which I am so vain as to hope you will like, in some 


respects, has been just published in a paper for which 
sheer necessity compels me to write, now and then. It 
pays well, as times go but unquestionably it ought to 
pay ten prices ; for whatever I send it I feel I am con 
signing to the tomb of the Capulets. The verses ac 
companying this, may I beg you to take out of the tomb, 
and bring them to light in the Home Journal ? If you 
can oblige me so far as to copy them, I do not think 

it will be necessary to say "From the ," that 

would be too bad 5 and, perhaps, "From a late 

paper" w^uld do. 

I have not forgotten how a "good word in season" 
from you made "The Raven," and made " Ulalume," 
(which, by-the-way, people have done me the honor of 
attributing to you) therefore I would ask you, (if I 
dared), to say something of these lines if they please 

Truly yours ever, 


In double proof of his earnest disposition to do the 
best for himself, and of the trustful and grateful nature 
which has been denied him, we give another of the 
only three of his notes which we chance to retain : 

FORDHAM, January 22, 1848. 

MY DEAR MR. WILLIS, I am about to make an 
effort at re-establishing myself in the literary world, and 
feel that I may depend upon your aid. 

My general aim is to start a Magazine, to be called 
" The Stylus ; " but it would be useless to me, even when 
established, if not entirely out of the control of a pub 
lisher. I mean, therefore, to get up a Journal which 
shall be my own, at all points. With this end in view, 
I must get a list of, at least, five hundred subscribers to 
begin with : nearly two hundred I have already. I 
propose, however, to go South and West, among my 
personal and literary friends old college and West 


Point acquaintances and see what I can do. In order 
to get the means of taking the first step, I propose to 
lecture at the Society Library, on Thursday, the 3d of 
February and, that there may be no cause of squab 
bling, my subject shall not be literary at all. I have 
chosen a broad text "The Universe." 

Having thus given you the facts of the case, I leave 
all the rest to the suggestions of your own tact and 

Gratefully most gratefully 

Your friend always, 


Brief and chance-taken as these letters are, we think 
they sufficiently prove the existence of the very quali 
ties denied to Mr. Poe, humility, willingness to 
persevere, belief in another s kindness, and capability 
of cordial and grateful friendship ! Such he assuredly 
was when sane. Such only he has invariably seemed 
to us, in all we have happened personally to know of 
him, through a friendship of five or six years. And 
so much easier is it to believe what we have seen and 
known than what we bear of only, that we remember 
him but with admiration and respect, these descrip 
tions of him, when morally insane, seeming to us like 
portraits, painted in sickness, of a man we have only 
known in health. 

But there is another, more touching and far more 
forcible, evidence that there was goodness in Edgar A. 
Poe. To reveal it, we are obliged to venture upon 
the lifting of the veil which sacredly covers grief and 
refinement in poverty ; but we think it may be ex 
cused if so we can brighten the memory of the poet, 
even were there not a more needed and immediate 
service which it may render to the nearest link broken 
by his death. 


Our first knowledge of Mr. Poe s removal to this 
city was by a call which we received from a lady who 
introduced herself to us as the mother of his wife. She 
was in search of employment for him, and she excused 
her errand by mentioning that he was ill, that her 
daughter was a confirmed invalid, and that their cir 
cumstances were such as compelled her taking it upon 
herself. The countenance of this lady, made beautiful 
and saintly with an evidently complete giving up of 
her life to privation and sorrowful tenderness, her 
gentle and mournful voice urging its plea, her long- 
forgotten but habitually and unconsciously refined 
manners, and her appealing and yet appreciative men 
tion of the claims and abilities of her son, disclosed at 
once the presence of one of those angels upon earth 
that women in adversity can be. It was a hard fate 
that she was watching over. Mr. Poe wrote with 
fastidious difficulty, and in a style too much above the 
popular level to be well paid. He was always in 
pecuniary difficulty, and, with his sick wife, frequently 
in want of the merest necessaries of life. Winter after 
winter, for years, the most touching sight to us, in this 
whole city, has been that tireless minister to genius, 
thinly and insufficiently clad, going from office to office 
with a poem, or an article on some literary subject, to 
sell sometimes simply pleading in a broken voice 
that he was ill, and begging for him mentioning 
nothing but that " he was ill," whatever might be the 
reason for his writing nothing ; and never, amid all 
her tears and recitals of distress, suffering one syllable 
to escape her lips that could convey a doubt of him, 
or a complaint, or a lessening of pride in his genius 
and good intentions. Her daughter died, a year and a 
half since, but she did not desert him. She continued 


his ministering angel, living with him, caring for 
him, guarding him against exposure, and, when he 
was carried away by temptation, amid grief and the 
loneliness of feelings unreplied to, and awoke from his 
self-abandonment prostrated in destitution and suffer 
ing, begging for him still. If woman s devotion, born 
with a first love, and fed with human passion, hallow 
its object, as it is allowed to do, what does not a de 
votion like this pure, disinterested, and holy as the 
watch of an invisible spirit say for him who in 
spired it ? 

We have a letter before us, written by this lady, 
Mrs. Clemm, on the morning in which she heard of 
the death of this object of her untiring care. It is 
merely a request that we would call upon her ; but 
we will copy a few of its words, sacred as its privacy 
is, to warrant the truth of the picture we have drawn 
above, and add force to the appeal we wish to make 
for her : 

"I have this morning heard of the death of my darling 
Eddie. . . . Can you give me any circumstances or par 
ticulars ? . . . Oh ! do not desert your poor friend in 

this bitter affliction. . . . Ask Mr. to come, as 

I must deliver a message to him from my poor Eddie. 
... I need not ask you to notice his death and to speak 
well of him. I know you will. But say what an affec 
tionate son he was to me, his poor desolate mother. ..." 

To hedge round a grave with respect, what choice 
is there between the relinquished wealth and honors 
of the world and the story of such a woman s unre 
warded devotion ! Risking what we do, in delicacy, 
by making it public, we feel other reasons aside 
that it betters the world to make known that there are 
such ministrations to its erring and gifted. What we 


have said will speak to some hearts. There are those 
who will be glad to know how the lamp, whose light 
of poetry has beamed on their far-away recognition, 
was watched over with care and pain, that they may 
send to her, who is more darkened than they by its 
extinction, some token of their sympathy. She is 
destitute and alone. If any, far or near, will send to 
us what may aid and cheer her through the remainder 
of her life, we will joyfully place it in her hands. 


The situation of American literature is anomalous. 
It has no centre, or, if it have, it is like that of the 
sphere of Hermes. It is divided into many systems, 
each revolving round its several sun, and often present 
ing to the rest only the faint glimmer of a milk-and- 
watery way. Our capital city, unlike London or 
Paris, is not a great central heart, from which life and 
vigor radiate to the extremities, but resembles more an 
isolated umbilicus, stuck down as near as may be to 
the centre of the land, and seeming rather to tell a 
legend of former usefulness than to serve any present 
need. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, each has its 
literature almost more distinct than those of the differ 
ent dialects of Germany ; and the Young Queen of the 
West has also one of her own, of which some articu 
late rumor barely has reached us dwellers by the 

1 From " Graham s Magazine," Phila., February, 1845, with 
a super-caption : " Our Contributors. No. XVII." 


Atlantic. Meanwhile, a great babble is kept up con 
cerning a national literature, and the country, having 
delivered itself of the ugly likeness of a paint-bedaubed, 
filthy savage, smilingly dandles the rag-baby upon her 
maternal knee, as if it were veritable flesh and blood, 
and would grow timely to bone and sinew. 

But, before we have an American literature, we 
must have an American criticism. We have, it is 
true, some scores of " American Macaulays," the 
faint echoes of defunct originalities, who will dis 
course learnedly at an hour s notice upon matters, to 
be even a sciolist in which would ask the patient 
study and self-denial of years but, with a few rare 
exceptions, America is still to seek a profound, orig 
inal, and aesthetic criticism. Our criticism, which 
from its nature might be expected to pass most erudite 
judgment upon the merit of thistles, undertakes to de 
cide upon 

" The plant and flower of light." 

There is little life in it, little conscientiousness, little 
reverence ; nay, it has seldom the mere physical merit 
of fearlessness. It may be best likened to an intellec 
tual gathering of chips to keep the critical pot of pota 
toes or reputations boiling. Too often, indeed, with 
the cast garments of some pigmy GifFord, or other for 
eign notoriety, which he has picked up at the rag-fair 
of literature, our critic sallies forth, a self-dubbed 
Amadis, armed with a pen, which, more wonderful 
even than the fairy-gifts in an old ballad, becomes at 
will either the lance couched terribly at defiant wind 
mills, or the trumpet for a half-penny paean. 

Perhaps there is no task more difficult than the just 
criticism of cotemporary literature. It is even more 
grateful to give praise where it is needed than where 


it is deserved, and friendship so often reduces the iron 
stylus of justice into a vague flourish, that she writes 
what seems rather like an epitaph than a criticism. 
Yet if praise be given as an alms, we could not drop 
so poisonous a one into any man s hat. The critic s 
ink may suffer equally from too large an infusion of 
nutgalls or of sugar. But it is easier to be generous 
than to be just, though there are some who find it 
equally hard to be either, and we might readily put 
faith in that fabulous direction to the hiding-place of 
truth, did we judge from the amount of water which 
we usually find mixed with it. 

We were very naturally led into some remarks on 
American criticism by the subject of the present sketch. 
Mr. Poe is at once the most discriminating, philo 
sophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works 
who has written in America. It may be that we 
should qualify our remark a little and say that he 
MIGHT BE, rather than that he always is, for he seems 
sometimes to mistake his phial of prussic-acid for his 
inkstand. If we do not always agree with him in his 
premises, we are, at least, satisfied that his deductions 
are logical, and that we are reading the thoughts of a 
man who thinks for himself, and says what he thinks, 
and knows well what he is talking about. His ana 
lytic powers would furnish forth bravely some score of 
ordinary critics. We do not know him personally, 
but we suspect him for a man who has one or two pet 
prejudices on which he prides himself. These some 
times allure him out of the strict path of criticism, 1 

1 We cannot but think that this was the case in his review of 
W. E. Channing s poems, in which we are sure that there is much 
which must otherwise have challenged Mr. Poe s hearty liking. 
VOL. I. 24 


but, where they do not interfere, we would put 
almost entire confidence in his judgments. Had Mr. 
Poe had the control of a magazine of his own, in 
which to display his critical abilities, he would have 
been as autocratic, ere this, in America, as Professor 
Wilson has been in England ; and his criticisms, we 
are sure, would have been far more profound and phil 
osophical than those of the Scotsman. As it is, he 
has squared out blocks enough to build an enduring 
pyramid, but has left them lying carelessly and un 
claimed in many different quarries. 

Remarkable experiences are usually confined to the 
inner life of imaginative men, but Mr. Poe s biography 
displays a vicissitude and peculiarity of interest such as 
is rarely met with. The offspring of a romantic mar 
riage, and left an orphan at an early age, he was 
adopted by Mr. Allan, a wealthy Virginian, whose 
barren marriage-bed seemed the warranty of a large 
estate to the young poet. Having received a classical 
education in England, he returned home and entered 
the University of Virginia, where, after an extrava 
gant course, followed by reformation at the last ex 
tremity, he was graduated with the highest honors of 
his class. Thencame a boyish attempt tq_jojn the_ 
fortunes of the insurgent Greeks, which ended at St. 
Peters burET where he got into difficulties through want 
oTa passport, From which he was rescued by the AmerJ 
ican consul and sent home. He now entered the 
military academy at West Point, from which he ob 
tained a dismissal on hearing of the birth of a son to 
his adopted father, by a second marriage, an event 
which cut off his expectations as an heir. The death 
of Mr. Allan, in whose will his name was not men 
tioned, soon after relieved him of all doubt in this re- 


gard, and he committed himself at once to authorship 
for a support. Previously to this, however, he had 
published (in 1827) a small volume of poems, which 
soon ran through three editions, and excited high ex 
pectations of its author s future distinction in the 
minds of many competent judges. 

That no certain augury can be drawn from a poet s 
earliest lispings there are instances enough to prove. 
Shakspeare s first poems, though brimful of vigor and 
youth and picturesqueness, give but a very faint prom 
ise of the directness, condensation and overflowing 
moral of his maturer works. Perhaps, however, 
Shakspeare is hardly a case in point, his "Venus and 
Adonis" having been published, we believe, in his 
twenty-sixth year. Milton s Latin verses show ten 
derness, a fine eye for nature, and a delicate apprecia 
tion of classic models, but give no hint of the author 
of anew style in poetry. Pope s youthful pieces have 
all the sing-song, wholly unrelieved by the glittering 
malignity and eloquent irreligion of his later produc 
tions. Collins callow namby-pamby died and gave 
no sign of the vigorous and original genius which he 
afterward displayed. We have never thought that the 
world lost more in the " marvelous boy," Chatterton, 
than a very ingenious imitation of obscure and anti 
quated dullness. Where he becomes original (as it is 
called) the interest of ingenuity ceases and he becomes 
stupid. Kirke White s promises were endorsed by the 
respectable name of Mr. Southey, but surely with no 
authority from Apollo. They have the merit of a 
traditional piety, which, to our mind, if uttered at all, 
had been less objectionable in the retired closet of a 
diary, and in the sober raiment of prose. They do 
not clutch hold of the memory with the drowning per- 


tinacity of Watts ; neither have they the interest of 
his occasional simple, lucky beauty. Burns, having 
fortunately been rescued by his humble station from 
the contaminating society of the "best models," 
wrote well and naturally from the first. Had he been 
unfortunate enough to have had an educated taste, we 
should have had a series of poems from which, as from 
his letters, we could sift here and there a kernel from 
the mass of chaff. Coleridge s youthful efforts give no 
promise whatever of that poetical genius which pro 
duced at once the wildest, tenderest, most original 
and most purely imaginative poems of modern times. 
Byron s " Hours of Idleness" would never find a 
reader except from an intrepid and indefatigable curi 
osity. In Wordsworth s first preludings there is but 
a dim foreboding of the creation of an era. From 
Southey s early poems, a safer augury might have been 
drawn. They show the patient investigation, the 
close student of history, and the unwearied explorer 
of the beauties of predecessors, but they give no assur 
ances of a man who should add aught to stock of house 
hold words, or to the rarer and more sacred delights 
of the fire-side or the arbor. The earliest specimens 
of Shelley s poetic mind already, also, give tokens of 
that ethereal sublimation in which the spirit seems to 
soar above the region of words, but leaves its body, 
the verse, to be entombed, without hope of resurrec 
tion, in a mass of them. Cowley is generally in 
stanced as a wonder of precocity. But his early 
insipidities show only a capacity for rhyming and for 
the metrical arrangement of certain conventional com 
binations of words, a capacity wholly dependent on a 
delicate physical organization, and an unhappy mem 
ory. An early poem is only remarkable when it dis- 


plays an effort of reason, and the rudest verses in 
which we can trace some conception of the ends of 
poetry, are worth all the miracles of smooth juvenile 
versification. A school-boy, one would say, might 
acquire the regular see-saw of Pope merely by an asso 
ciation with the motion of the play-ground tilt. 

Mr. Poe s early productions show that he could see 
through the verse to the spirit beneath, and that he al 
ready had a feeling that all the life and grace of the 
one must depend on and be modulated by the will of 
the other. We call them the most remarkable boyish 
poems that we have ever read. We know of none 
that can compare with them for maturity of purpose, 
and a nice understanding of the effects of language and 
metre. Such pieces are only valuable when they dis 
play what we can only express by the contradictory 
phrase of innate experience. We copy one of the 
shorter poems written when the author was only 
fourteen ! There is a little dimness in the filling up, 
but the grace and symmetry of the outline are such as 
few poets ever attain. There is a smack of ambrosia 
about it. 


Helen, thy beauty is to me 

Like those Nicean barks of yore, 
That gently, o er a perfumed sea, 

The weary, way-worn wanderer bore 

To his own native shore. 

On desperate seas long wont to roam, 
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, 

Thy Naiad airs have brought me home 
To the glory that was Greece 

And the grandeur that was Rome. 


Lo ! in yon brilliant window-niche 

How statue-like I see thee stand ! 

The agate lamp within thy hand, 
Ah ! Psyche, from the regions which 

Are Holy Land ! 

It is the tendency of the young poet that impresses 
us. Here is no "withering scorn," no heart 
"blighted" ere it has safely got into its teens, none 
of the drawing-room sansculottism which Byron had 
brought into vogue. All is limpid and serene, with a 
pleasant dash of the Greek Helicon in it. The melody 
of the whole, too, is remarkable. It is not of that 
kind which can be demonstrated arithmetically upon the 
tips of the fingers. It is that finer sort which the inner 
ear alone can estimate. It seems simple, like a Greek 
column, because of its perfection. In a poem named 
" Ligeia," under which title he intended to personify 
the music of nature, our boy poet gives us the follow 
ing exquisite picture : 

Ligeia ! Ligeia ! 

My beautiful one, 
Whose harshest idea 

Will to melody run, 
Say, is it thy will 

On the breezes to toss, 
Or, capriciously still, 

Like the lone Albatross, 
Incumbent on night, 

As she on the air, 
To keep watch with delight 

On the harmony there ? 

John Neal, himself a man of genius, and whose 
lyre has been too long capriciously silent, appreciated 
the high merit of these and similar passages, and drew 
a proud horoscope for their author. The extracts 


which we shall presently make from Mr. Poe s later 
poems fully justify his predictions. 

Mr. Poe has that indescribable something which 
men have agreed to call genius. No man could ever 
tell us precisely what it is, and yet there is none who 
is not inevitably aware of its presence and its power. 
Let talent writhe and contort itself as it may, it has no 
such magnetism. Larger of bone and sinew it may be, 
but the wings are wanting. Talent sticks fast to earth, 
and its most perfect works have still one foot of clay. 
Genius claims kindred with the very workings of Nature 
herself, so that a sunset shall seem like a quotation 
from Dante or Milton, and if Shakspeare be read in 
the very presence of the sea itself, his verses shall but 
seem nobler for the sublime criticism of ocean. Talent 
may make friends for itself, but only genius can give 
to its creations the divine power of winning love and 
veneration. Enthusiasm cannot cling to what itself is 
unenthusiastic, nor will he ever have disciples who has 
not himself impulsive zeal enough to be a disciple. 
Great wits are allied to madness only inasmuch as 
they are possessed and carried away by their demon, 
while talent keeps him, as Paracelsus did, securely 
prisoned in the pommel of its sword. To the eye of 
genius, the veil of the spiritual world is ever rent asun 
der, that it may perceive the ministers of good and 
evil who throng continually around it. No man of mere 
talent ever flung his inkstand at the devil. 

When we say that Mr. Poe has genius, we do not 
mean to say that he has produced evidence of the 
highest. But to say that he possesses it at all is to say 
that he needs only zeal, industry, and a reverence for 
the trust reposed in him, to achieve the proudest 
triumphs and the greenest laurels. If we may believe 


the Longinuses and Aristotles of our newspapers, we 
have quite too many geniuses of the loftiest order to 
render a place among them at all desirable, whether 
for its hardness of attainment or its seclusion. The 
highest peak of our Parnassus is, according to these 
gentlemen, by far the most thickly settled portion of 
the country, a circumstance which must make it an 
uncomfortable residence for individuals of a poetical 
temperament, if love of solitude be, as immemorial 
tradition asserts, a necessary part of their idiosyncrasy. 
There is scarce a gentleman or lady of respectable 
moral character to whom these liberal dispensers of the 
laurel have not given a ticket to that once sacred pri 
vacy, where they may elbow Shakspeare and Milton at 
leisure. A transient visiter, such as a critic must neces 
sarily be, sees these legitimate proprietors in common, 
parading their sacred enclosure as thick and buzzing as 
flies, each with " Entered according to act of Con 
gress " labeled securely to his back. Formerly one 
Phoebus, a foreigner, we believe, had the monopoly 
of transporting all passengers thither, a service for 
which he provided no other conveyance than a vicious 
horse, named Pegasus, who could, of course, carry 
but one at a time, and even that but seldom, his back 
being a ticklish seat, and one fall proving generally 
enough to damp the ardor of the most zealous aspirant. 
The charges, however, were moderate, as the poet s 
pocket formerly occupied that position in regard to the 
rest of his outfit which is now more usually conceded 
to his head. But we must return from our little his 
torical digression. 

Mr. Poe has two of the prime qualities of genius, a 
faculty of vigorous yet minute analysis, and a wonder 
ful fecundity of imagination. The first of these facul- 


ties is as needful to the artist in words, as a knowledge 
of anatomy is to the artist in colors or in stone. This 
enables him to conceive truly, to maintain a proper 
relation of parts, and to draw a correct outline, while 
the second groups, fills up, and colors. Both of these 
Mr. Poe has displayed with singular distinctness in his 
prose works, the last predominating in his earlier tales, 
and the first in his later ones. In judging of the merit 
of an author and assigning him his niche among our 
household gods, we have a right to regard him from 
our own point of view, and to measure him by our 
own standard. But, in estimating his works, we must 
be governed by his own design, and, placing them by 
the side of his own ideal, find how much is wanting. 
We differ with Mr. Poe in his opinions of the objects 
of art. He esteems that object to be the creation of 
Beauty, 1 and perhaps it is only in the definition of that 
word that we disagree with him. But in what we 
shall say of his writings we shall take his own standard 
as our guide. The temple of the god of song is equally 
accessible from every side, and there is room enough 
in it for all who bring offerings, or seek an oracle. 

In his tales, Mr. Poe has chosen to exhibit his 
power chiefly in that dim region which stretches from 
the very utmost limits of the probable into the weird 
confines of superstition and unreality. He combines 
in a very remarkable manner two faculties which are 
seldom found united ; a power of influencing the mind 
of the reader by the impalpable shadows of mystery, 
and a minuteness of detail which does not leave a pin 
or a button unnoticed. Both are, in truth, the natural 
results of the predominating quality of his mind, to 

1 Mr. P. s proposition is here perhaps somewhat too generally 
stated. ED. Mag. 


which we have before alluded, analysis. It is this 
which distinguishes the artist. His mind at once 
reaches forward to the effect to be produced. Having 
resolved to bring about certain emotions in the reader, 
he makes all subordinate parts tend strictly to the com 
mon centre. Even his mystery is mathemathical to 
his own mind. To him AT is a known quantity all 
along. In any picture that he paints, he understands 
the chemical properties of all his colors. However 
vague some of his figures may seem, however formless 
the shadows, to him the outline is as clear and distinct 
as that of a geometrical diagram. For this reason Mr. 
Poe has no sympathy with Mysticism. The mystic 
dwells in the mystery, is enveloped with it ; it colors 
all his thoughts ; it affects his optic nerve especially, 
and the commonest things get a rainbow edging from 
it. Mr. Poe, on the other hand, is a spectator ab 
extra. He analyzes, he dissects, he watches 

with an eye serene, 
The very pulse of the machine, 

for such it practically is to him, with wheels and cogs 
and piston-rods all working to produce a certain end. 
It is this that makes him so good a critic. Nothing 
baulks him, or throws him off the scent, except now 
and then a prejudice. 

This analyzing tendency of his mind balances the 
poetical, and, by giving him the patience to be mi 
nute, enables him to throw a wonderful reality into 
his most unreal fancies. A monomania he paints with 
great power. He loves to dissect these cancers of the 
mind, and to trace all the subtle ramifications of its 
roots. In raising images of horror, also, he has a 
strange success ; conveying to us sometimes by a 


dusky hint some terrible doubt which is the secret 
of all horror. Me leaves to imagination the task 
of finishing the picture, a task to which only she is 

" For much imaginary work was there; 
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind, 
That for Achilles image stood his spear 
Grasped in an armed hand ; himself behind 
Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind." 

We have hitherto spoken chiefly of Mr. Poe s col 
lected tales, as by them he is more widely known 
than by those published since in various magazines, 
and which we hope soon to see collected. In these 
he has more strikingly displayed his analytic pro 

Beside the merit of conception, Mr. Poe s writings 
have also that of" form. His style is highly finished, 
graceful, and truly classical. It would be hard to find 
a living author who had displayed such varied powers. 
As an example of his style, we would refer to one of 
his tales, "The House of Usher," in the first volume 
of his "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque." It 
has a singular charm for us, and we think that no one 
could read it without being strongly moved by its 
serene and sombre beauty. Had its author written 
nothing else, it would alone have been enough to 
stamp him as a man of genius, and the master of a 
classic style. In this tale occurs one of the most 
beautiful of his poems. It loses greatly by being 
taken out of its rich and appropriate setting, but we 
cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of copying it here. 
We know no modern poet who might not have been 
justly proud of it. 



In the greenest of our valleys, 

By good angels tenanted, 
Once a fair and stately palace 

Radiant palace rear d its head. 
In the monarch Thought s dominion 

It stood there ! 
Never seraph spread a pinion 

Over fabric half so fair ! 

Banners yellow, glorious, golden, 

On its roof did float and flow, 
(This all this was in the olden 

Time, long ago, ) 
And every gentle air that dallied, 

In that sweet day, 
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, 

A winged odor went away. 

Wanderers in that happy valley, 

Through two luminous windows, saw 
Spirits moving musically, 

To a lute s well-tuned law, 
Round about a throne where, sitting 

( Porphyrogene ?) 
In state his glory well befitting, 

The ruler of the realm was seen. 

And all "with pearl and ruby glowing 

Was the fair palace door. 
Through which came flowing, flowing, 

And sparkling evermore, 
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty 

Was but to sing, 
In voices of surpassing beauty, 

The *wit and wisdom of their king. 

But evil things, in robes of sorrow, 
Assail d the monarch s high estate. 

( Ah, let us mourn ! for never morrow 
Shall dawn upon him desolate !) 


And round about his home the glory 

That blush d and bloom d, 
Is but a dim remember d story 

Of the old time entomb d. 

And travelers, now, within that valley^ 

Through the red-litten ivindoivs see 
f^ast forms, that move fantastically 

To a discordant melody, 
While, like a ghastly rapid river , 

Through the pale door, 
A hideous throng rush out forever , 

And laugh but smile no more. 

Was ever the wreck and desolation of a noble mind 
so musically sung ? 

A writer in the " London Foreign Quarterly Re 
view," who did some faint justice to Mr. Foe s poet 
ical abilities, speaks of his resemblance to Tennyson. 
The resemblance, if there be any, is only in so sen 
sitive an ear to melody as leads him sometimes into 
quaintness, and the germ of which may be traced in 
his earliest poems, published several years before the 
first of Tennyson s appeared. 

We copy one more of Mr. Foe s poems, whose 
effect cannot fail of being universally appreciated. 


Ah, broken is the golden bowl ! the spirit flown forever ! 
Let the bell toll ! a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river. 
And, Guy De Vere, hast tbou no tear ? weep now or never 
more ! 

See, on yon drear and rigid bier, low lies thy love, Lenore ! 
Ah, let the burial rite be read the funeral song be sung 
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young 
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young ! 

" Wretches ! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her 

And, when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her that she died. 


How shall the ritual then be read ? the requiem how be sung 

By you by yours the evil eye by yours the slanderous tongue, 

That did to death the innocence that died and died so young ? " 

Peccavimus ; but rave not thus ! and let a Sabbath song 

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong. 

The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope that flew 

Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy 


For her the fair and debonair that now so lowly lies, 
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes 
The life still there, upon her hair the death upon her eyes. 

" Avaunt! to-night my heart is light ; no dirge will I upraise, 
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days ! 
Let no bell toll ! lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth, 
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned earth. 
To friends above, *rom friends below, the indignant ghost is riven 
From Hell into a high estate far up within the Heaven 
From moan and groan to a golden throne beside the King of 

How exquisite, too, is the rhythm ! 

Besides his < f Tales of the Grotesque and Ara 
besque," and some works unacknowledged, Mr. Poe 
is the author of "Arthur Gordon Pym," a romance, 
in two volumes, which has run through many editions 
in London ; of a system of Conchology, of a digest 
and translation of Lemmonnier s Natural History, 
and has contributed to several reviews in France, in 
England, and in this country. He edited the "South 
ern Literary Messenger" during its novitiate, and by 
his own contributions gained it most of its success and 
reputation. He was also, for some time, the editor 
of this magazine, and our readers will bear testimony 
to his ability in that capacity. 

Mr. Poe is still in the prime of life, being about 
thirty-two years of age, and has probably as yet given 
but an earnest of his powers. As a critic, he has 

EDGAR A. POE. 383 

shown so superior an ability that we cannot but hope 
that he will collect his essays of this kind and give 
them a more durable form. They would be a very 
valuable contribution to our literature, and would fully 
justify all we have said in his praise. We could refer 
to many others of his poems than those we have quoted, 
to prove that he is the possessor of a pure and original 
vein. His tales and essays have equally shown him a 
master in prose. It is not for us to assign him his 
definite rank among cotemporary authors, but we may 
be allowed to say that we know of none who has 
displayed more varied and striking abilities. 



Author of the " Froissart Ballads." 

[Southern Literary Messenger, January, 1848.] 

(The following paper is a sequel to Mr. Lowell s 
Memoir, (so-called,) of Mr. Poe, published two or three 
years since in Graham s Magazine. Mr. P. edited the 
Messenger for several years, and the pages of that maga 
zine would seem, therefore, a proper place for the few 
hurried observations which I have made upon his writings 
and genius. P. P. C.) 

Since the memoirs of Mr. Poe, written by James 
Russell Lowell, appeared, Mr. P. has written some of 
his best things ; amongst them The Raven, and Dream 
land poems and M. Valdemar s Case a prose 


" The Raven " is a singularly beautiful poem. 
Many readers who prefer sunshine to the weird lights 
with which Mr. Poe fills his sky, may be dull to its 
beauty, but it is none the less a great triumph of im 
agination and art. Notwithstanding the extended 
publication of this remarkable poem, I will quote it 
almost entire as the last means of justifying the praise 
I have bestowed upon it. 

The opening stanza rapidly and clearly arranges 
time, place, etc., for the mysteries that follow. 

" Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and 


Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, 
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door, 
* Tis some visiter, I muttered, tapping at my chamber door 
Only this, and nothing more. 

Observe how artistically the poet has arranged the 
circumstances of this opening how congruous all are. 
This congruity extends to the phraseology ; every 
word is admirably selected and placed with reference 
to the whole. Even the word "napping" is well 
chosen, as bestowing a touch of the fantastic, which is 
subsequently introduced as an important component of 
the poem. Stanza zd increases the distinctness and 
effect of the picture as already presented to us. The 
"Midnight Dreary" is a midnight "in the bleak 
December," and the "dying embers" are assuming 
strange and fantastic shapes upon the student s hearth. 
We now pass these externals and some words of ex 
quisite melody let us into the secret of the rooted sor 
row which has led to the lonely night-watching and 
fruitless study. 

EDGAR A. POE. 385 

tf Vainly I had sought to borrow 

From my books surcease of sorrow sorrow for the lost Lenore 
For the rare and radiant maiden, ivAom the angels named Lenore, 

Nameless here forever more." 

A death was never more poetically told than in the 
italicised words : 

The "tapping" is renewed 

" And the silken, sad, uncertain, rustling of each purple curtain 
Thrilled me, filled me, with fantastic terrors never felt before, 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 
T is some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door, 
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door, 

Only this and nothing more. " 

After some stanzas, quaint and highly artistical, the 
raven is found at the window ; I quote now continu 
ously to the end. 

[Here follows " The Raven."] 

The rhythm of this poem is exquisite, its phrase 
ology is in the highest degree musical and apt, the 
tone of the whole is wonderfully sustained and appro 
priate to the subject, which, full as it is of a wild and 
tender melancholy, is admirably well chosen. This is 
my honest judgment ; I am fortified in it by high 
authority. Mr. Willis says : " It is the most effec 
tive single example of fugitive poetry ever published in 
this country, and unsurpassed in English poetry for 
subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, 
and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift. It is one 
of those dainties which we feed on. It will stick to 
the memory of every one who reads it." 

Miss Barrett says : " This vivid writing ! this 
power which is felt ! * The Raven has produced a 
sensation a fit horror here in England. Some of 
VOL. i. 25 


my friends are taken by the fear of it, and some by 
the music. I hear of persons haunted by the Never 
more, and one acquaintance of mine, who has the 
misfortune of possessing a bust of Pallas, never can 
bear to look at it in the twilight. Our great poet, Mr. 
Browning, author of Paracelsus, etc., is enthusiastic in 
his admiration of the rhythm. . . . Then there is a 
tale of his which I do not find in this volume, but 
which is going the rounds of the newspapers, about 
mesmerism, throwing us all into most admired dis 
order, or dreadful doubts as to whether it can be true, 
as the children say of ghost stories. The certain 
thing in the tale in question is the power of the writer, 
and the faculty he has of making horrible improbabili 
ties seem near and familiar." 

The prose narrative, " M. Valdemar s Case" 
the story of which Miss Barrett speaks is the 
most truth-like representation of the impossible ever 
written. M. Valdemar is mesmerized in articulo 
mortis. Months pass away, during which he appears 
to be in mesmeric sleep ; the mesmeric influence is 
withdrawn, and instantly his body becomes putrid 
and loathsome he has been many months dead. 
Will the reader believe that men were found to credit 
this wild story ? And yet some very respectable peo 
ple believed in its truth firmly. The editor of the 
Baltimore Visiter republished it as a statement of facts, 
and was at the pains to vouch for Mr. Poe s veracity. 
If the letter of a Mr. Collier, 1 published just after the 
original appearance of the story, was not a quiz, he 
also fell into the same trap. I understand that some 
foreign mesmeric journals, German and French, re 
printed it as being what it purported to be a true 

1 See Vol. II. ED. 

EDGAR A. POE. 387 

account of mesmeric phenomena. That many others 
were deceived in like manner by this strange tale, in 
which, as Miss Barrett says, " the wonder and ques 
tion are, can it be true ? " is very probable. 

With Mr. Foe s more recent productions I am not 
at all acquainted excepting a review of Miss Bar 
rett s works, and an essay on the philosophy of com 
position. The first of these contains a great deal of 
noble writing and excellent criticism ; the last is an 
admirable specimen of analysis. I believe Mr. P. has 
been for some time ill has recently sustained a heavy 
domestic bereavement and is only now returning to 
his literary labors. The public will doubtless welcome 
the return of so favorite an author to pursuits in 
which heretofore he has done so much and so well. 

Unnecessary as the labor may be, I will not con 
clude this postscript to Mr. Lowell s memoir, without 
making some remarks upon Mr. Poe s genius and 
writings generally. 

Mr. P. s most distinguishing power is that which 
made the extravagant fiction of M. Valdemar s Case 
sound like truth. He has De Foe s peculiar talent for 
filling up his pictures with minute life-like touches 
for giving an air of remarkable naturalness and truth to 
whatever he paints. Some of his stories, written 
many years ago, are wonderful in this fidelity and dis 
tinctness of portraiture ; " Hans Phaal," " A Descent 
into the Maelstrom," and " MS. Found in a Bottle," 
show it in an eminent degree. In the first of these a 
journey to the moon is described with the fullness and 
particularity of an ordinary traveller s journal ; entries, 
astronomical and thermical, and, on reaching the 
moon, botanical, and zoological, are made with ^an 
inimitable matter-of-fact air. In A Descent into the 


Maelstrom you are made fairly to feel yourself on the 
descending round of the vortex, convoying fleets of 
drift timber, and fragments of wrecks ; the terrible 
whirl makes you giddy as you read. In the MS. 
Found in a Bottle we have a story as wild as the mind 
of man ever conceived, and yet made to sound like the 
most matter-of-fact veracious narrative of a seaman. 

But in Mr. Poe, the peculiar talent to which we are 
indebted for Robinson Crusoe, and the memoirs of 
Captain Monroe, has an addition. Truthlike as nature 
itself, his strange fiction shows constantly the presence 
of a singularly adventurous, very wild, and thoroughly 
poetic imagination. Some sentences from them, which 
always impressed me deeply, will give full evidence of 
the success with which this rare imaginative power is 
made to adorn and ennoble his truthlike pictures. 
Take this passage from Ligeia, a wonderful story, 
written to show the triumph of the human will even 
over death. Ligeia, in whom the struggle between 
the will to live, and the power of death, has seemed 
to terminate in the defeat of the passionate will, is con 
signed to the tomb. Her husband married a second 
wife, "the fair-haired and blue-eyed Lady Rowena." 
By the sick bed of this second wife, who is dying from 
some mysterious cause, he sits. 

Again take this passage from the Fall of the House 
of Usher. 

These quoted passages the " white and ghastly 
spectrum of the teeth " in " Berenice " the visible 
vulture eye, and audible heart-beat in the f Tell-tale 
Heart " the resemblance in " Morella " of the liv 
ing child to the dead mother, becoming gradually fear- 

EDGAR A. POE. 389 

ful, until the haunting eyes gleam out a terrible iden 
tity, and prove as in Ligeia the final conquest of the 
will over death these and a thousand such clinging 
ideas, which Mr. P. s writings abound in, prove in 
disputably that the fires of a great poet are seething 
under those analytic and narrative powers in which no 
living writer equals him. 

This added gift of a daring and wild imagination is 
the source of much of the difference between our 
author and De Foe. De Foe loves and deals always 
with the homely. Mr. Poe is nervously afraid of the 
homely has a creed that Beauty is the goddess of 
the Poet : not Beauty with swelling bust, and las 
civious carriage, exciting passions of the blood, but 
Beauty sublimated and cherished by the soul the 
beauty of the Uranian, not Dionean Venus. De Foe 
gives us in the cheerful and delightful story of his colo 
nist of the desert isles, (which has as sure a locality in 
a million minds as any genuine island has upon the 
maps,) a clear, plain, true-sounding narrative of mat 
ters that might occur any day. His love for the real 
makes him do so. The (t real " of such a picture has 
not strangeness enough in its proportions for Mr. 
Poe s imagination ; and, with the same talent for truth- 
like narrative, to what different results of creation does 
not this imagination, scornful of the soberly real, lead 
him ! Led by it he loves to adventure into what in 
one of his poems he calls 

" a wild weird clime 
Out of space, out of time j " 

deals in mysteries of " life in death," dissects mono 
manias, exhibits convulsions of soul in a word, 
wholly leaves beneath and behind him the wide and 
happy realm of the common cheerful life of man. 


That he would be a greater favorite with the major 
ity of readers if he brought his singular capacity for 
vivid and truth-like narrative to bear on subjects nearer 
ordinary life, and of a more cheerful and happy char 
acter, does not, I think, admit of a doubt. But 
whether with the few he is not all the more appre 
ciable from the difficult nature of the fields which he 
has principally chosen, is questionable. For what he 
has done, many of the best minds of America, England 
and France, have awarded him praise ; labors of a 
tamer nature might not have won it from such sources. 
For my individual part, having the seventy or more 
tales, analytic, mystic, grotesque, arabesque, always 
wonderful, often great, which his industry and fertility 
have already given us, I would like to read one cheer 
ful book made by his invention, with little or no aid 
from its twin brother imagination a book in his 
admirable style of full, minute, never tedious narrative 
a book full of homely doings, of successful toils, of 
ingenious shifts and contrivances, of ruddy firesides 
a book healthy and happy throughout, and with no 
poetry in it at all anywhere, except a good old Eng 
lish "poetic justice " in the end. Such a book, such 
as Mr. Poe could make it, would be a book for the 
million, and if it did nothing to exalt him with the 
few, would yet certainly endear him to them. 

Mr. Lowell has gone deeply and discriminatingly 
into Mr. Poe s merits as a poet. Any elaborate re 
marks of mine on the same subject, would be out of 
place here. I will not, however, lose this oppor 
tunity of expressing an admiration which I have long 
entertained of the singular mastery of certain externals 
of his art which he everywhere exhibits in his verse. 
His rhythm, and his vocabulary, or phraseology, are 

EDGAR A. POE. 391 

perhaps perfect. The reader has perceived the beauty 
of the rhythm in The Raven. Some other verses from 
poems to which Mr. Lowell has referred, are quite as 
remarkable for this beauty. Read these verses from 
Lenore : 

And take these, in the most graceful of all mea 
sures they are from " To One in Paradise. " 

** And all my days are trances 

And all my nightly dreams 
Are where thy dark eye glances, 

And where thy footstep gleams 
In what ethereal dances, 

By what eternal streams." 

Along with wonderful beauty of rhythm, these 
verses show the exquisite taste in phraseology, the 
nice sense of melody and aptness in words, of which I 
spoke. We have direct evidence of this nice sense of 
verbal melody in some quotations which are intro 
duced into the dramatic fragment " Politian." Lalage 
reads from a volume of our elder English Dramatists : 

I must conclude these insufficient remarks upon a 
writer worthy of high and honorable place amongst the 
leading creative minds of the age. 

As regards the Wiley & Putnam publication of Mr. 
Poe s tales a volume by which his rare literary 
claims have been most recently presented to the public 
I think the book in some respects does him injus 
tice. It contains twelve tales out of more than sev 
enty ; and it is made up almost wholly of what may 
be called his analytic tales. This is not representing 
the author s mind in its various phases. A reader 
gathering his knowledge of Mr. Foe from this Wiley 


& Putnam issue would perceive nothing of the diver 
sity and variety for which his writings are in fact re 
markable. Only the publication of all his stories, at 
one issue, in one book, would show this diversity and 
variety in their full force ; but much more might have 
been done to represent his mind by a judicious and not 
wholly one-toned selection. 1 



[Southern Literary Messenger, November, 1849.] 

So much has been said by the newspaper press of 
the country concerning this gifted child of genius, since 
his recent death, that our readers are already in pos 
session of the leading incidents of his short, brilliant, 
erratic and unhappy career. It is quite unnecessary 
that we should recount them in this place. We feel 
it due to the dead, however, as editor of a magazine 
which owes its earliest celebrity to his efforts, that some 
recognition of his talent, on the part of the Messenger, 
should mingle with the general apotheosis which just now 
enrolls him on the list of heroes in history and gods 
in song." 

Mr. Poe became connected with the Messenger dur 
ing the first year of its existence. He was commended 
to the favorable consideration of the proprietor, the late 

1 See Vol. II. for the Poe-Cooke correspondence on this sub 
ject. ED. 


T. W. White, by the Honorable John P. Kennedy, 
who, as chairman of a committee, had just awarded to 
Poe the prize for the successful tale in a literary com 
petition at Baltimore. Under his editorial management 
the work soon became well known everywhere. Per 
haps no similar enterprise ever prospered so largely in 
its inception, and we doubt if any, in the same length 
of time even Blackwood in the days of Dr. Maginn, 
whom Poe in some respects closely resembled ever 
published so many shining articles from the same pen. 
Those who will turn to the first two volumes of the 
Messenger will be struck with the number and variety 
of his contributions. On one page may be found 
some lyric cadence, plaintive and inexpressibly sweet, 
the earliest vibrations of those chords which have since 
thrilled with so many wild and wondrous harmonies. 
On another some strange story of the German school, 
akin to the most fanciful legends of the Rhine, fasci 
nates and astonishes the reader with the verisimilitude of 
its improbabilities. But it was in the editorial depart 
ment of the magazine that his power was most conspic 
uously displayed. There he appeared as the critic, 
not always impartial, it may be, in the distribution of 
his praises, or correct in the positions he assumed, but 
ever merciless to the unlucky author who offended by 
a dull book. A blunder in this respect he considered 
worse than a crime, and visited it with corresponding 
vigor. Among the nascent novelists and newly fledged 
poetasters of fifteen years ago he came down "like a 
Visigoth marching on Rome." No elegant imbecile 
or conceited pedant, no matter whether he made his 
avatar under the auspices of a society, or with the 
prestige of a degree, but felt the lash of his severity, 
Baccdlaurei baculo portius quam laureo digni was 


the principle of his action in such cases, and to the 
last he continued to castigate impudent aspirants for 
the bays. Now that he is gone, the vast multitude of 
blockheads may breathe again, and we can imagine 
that we hear the shade of the departed crying out to 
them, in the epitaph designed for Robespierre, 

Passant ! ne plains point mon sort, 
Si je vivais, tu serais mort ! * 

It will readily occur to the reader that such a course, 
while it gained subscribers to the review, was not well 
calculated to gain friends for the reviewer. And so 
Mr. Poe found it, for during the two years of his 
connection with the Messenger, he contrived to attach 
to himself animosities of the most enduring kind. It 
was the fashion with a large class to decry his literary 
pretensions, as poet and romancer and scholar to rep 
resent him as one who possessed little else than 

th extravagancy 
And crazy ribaldry of fancy 

and to challenge his finest efforts with a chilling cut 
bono, while the critics of other lands and other tongues, 
the Athenaeum and the Revue des deux Mondes, 
were warmly recognizing his high claims. They did 
not appreciate him. To the envious obscure, he 
might not indeed seem entitled to the first literary 
honors, for he was versed in a more profound learning 
and skilled in a more lofty minstrelsy, scholar by virtue 
of a larger erudition and poet by the transmission of a 
diviner spark. 

Unquestionably he was a man of great genius. 

1 We translate it freely : 

Traveller ! forbear to mourn my lot, 
Thou would st have died, if I had not. 



Among the litterateurs of his day he stands out dis 
tinctively as an original writer and thinker. In nothing 
did he conform to established custom. Conventionality 
he condemned. Thus his writings admit of no clas 
sification. And yet in his most eccentric vagaries he 
was always correct. The fastidious reader may look 
in vain, even among his earlier poems where " wild 
words wander here and there," for an offence against 
rhetorical propriety. He did not easily pardon sole 
cisms in others ; he committed none himself. It is 
remarkable, too, that a mind so prone to unrestrained 
imaginings should be capable of analytic investigation 
or studious research. Yet few excelled Mr. Poe in 
power of analysis or patient application. Such are 
the contradictions of the human intellect. He was an 
impersonated antithesis. 

The regret has been often expressed that Mr. Poe 
did not bring his singular capacity to bear on subjects 
nearer ordinary life and of a more cheerful nature than 
the gloomy incidents of his tales and sketches. P. P. 
Cooke, (the accomplished author of the Froissart Bal 
lads, who, we predict, will one day take, by common 
consent, his rightful high position in American letters,) 
in a discriminating essay on the genius of Poe, pub 
lished in this magazine for January, 1848, remarks 
upon this point : 

" For my individual part, having the seventy or 
more tales, analytic, mystic, grotesque, arabesque, al 
ways wonderful, often great, which his industry and 
fertility have already given us, I would like to read 
one cheerful book made by his invention, with little 
or no aid from its twin brother imagination a book 
in his admirable style of full, minute, never tedious 
narrative a book full of homely doings, of successful 


toils, of ingenious shifts and contrivances, of ruddy 
firesides a book happy and healthy throughout, and 
with no poetry in it at all anywhere, except a good 
old English poetic justice in the end." 

That such a work would have greatly enhanced Mr. 
Poe s reputation with the million, we think, will 
scarcely be disputed. But it could not be. Mr. Poe 
was not the man to have produced a home-book. He 
had little of the domestic feeling and his thoughts were 
ever wandering. He was either in criticism or in the 
clouds, by turns a disciplinarian and a dreamer. And 
in his dreams, what visions came to him, may be 
gathered to some extent from the revealings he has 
given visions wherein his fancy would stray off 
upon some new Walpurgis, or descend into the dark 
realms of the Inferno, and where occasionally, through 
the impenetrable gloom, the supernal beauty of Lenore 
would burst upon his sight, as did the glorified Beatrice 
on the rapt gaze of the Italian master. 

The poems of Mr. Poe are remarkable, above all 
other characteristics, for the exceeding melody of the 
versification. " Ulalume " might be cited as a happy 
instance of this quality, but we prefer to quote " The 
Bells " from the last number of the Union Magazine. 
It was the design of the author, as he himself told us, 
to express in language the exact sounds of bells to the 
ear. He has succeeded, we think, far better than 
Southey, who attempted a similar feat, to tell us ( how 
the waters come down at Lodore." 

[Here follows "The Bells."] 

The untimely death of Mr. Poe occasioned a very 
general feeling of regret, although little genuine sorrow 
was called forth by it, out of the narrow circle of his 


relatives. We have received, in our private corre 
spondence, from various quarters of the Union, warm 
tributes to his talent, some of which we take the liberty 
of quoting, though not designed for publication. A 
friend in the country writes : 

" Many who deem themselves perfect critics talk of 
the want of moral in the writings and particularly the 
poetry of Poe. They would have every one to write 
like ^Esop, with the moral distinctly drawn at the end to 
prevent mistake. Such men would object to the meteor, 
or the lightning s flash, because it lasts only for the mo 
ment and yet they speak the power of God, and fill our 
minds with the sublime more readily than does the endur 
ing sunlight. It is thus with the writings of Poe. Every 
moment there comes across the darkness of his style a 
flash of that spirit which is not of earth. You cannot 
analyze the feeling you cannot tell in what the beauty 
of a particular passage consists 5 and yet you feel that deep 
pathos which only genius can incite you feel the 
trembling of that melancholy chord which fills the soul 
with pleasant mournfulness you feel that deep yearning 
for something brighter and better than this world can give 
that unutterable gushing of the heart which springs up 
at the touch of the enchanter, as poured the stream from 

* Horeb s rock, beneath the prophet s hand ! 

" I wish I could convey to you the impression which the 
4 Raven * has made upon me. I had read it hastily in 
times gone by without appreciation j but now it is a 
study to me as I go along like Sinbad in the Valley of 
Diamonds, I find a new jewel at every step. The beau 
tiful rhythm, the mournful cadence, still ring in the ear for 
hours after a perusal whilst the heart is bowed down 
by the outpourings of a soul made desolate not alone by 
disappointed love, but by crushing of every hope, and 
every aspiration. " 


In a recent letter the following noble acknowledg 
ment is made by the first of American poets Henry 
W. Longfellow towards whom, it must be said, Mr. 
Poe did not always act with justice. Mr. Longfellow 
will pardon us, we trust, for publishing what was 
intended as a private communication. The passage 
evidences a magnanimity which belongs only to great 

" What a melancholy death," says Mr. Longfellow, 
" is that of Mr. Poe a man so richly endowed with 
genius ! I never knew him personally, but have always 
entertained a high appreciation of his powers as a 
prose-writer and a poet. His prose is remarkably 
vigorous, direct and yet affluent ; and his verse has a 
particular charm of melody, an atmosphere of true 
poetry about it, which is very winning. The harsh 
ness of his criticisms, I have never attributed to any 
thing but the irritation of a sensitive nature, chafed by 
some indefinite sense of wrong." 

It was not until within two years past that we ever 
met Mr. Poe, but during that time, and especially 
for two or three months previous to his death, we saw 
him very often. When in Richmond, he made the 
office of the Messenger a place of frequent resort. 
His conversation was always attractive, and at times 
very brilliant. Among modern authors his favorite 
was Tennyson, and he delighted to recite from " The 
Princess" the song "Tears, idle tears; " a fragment 
of which 

when unto dying eyes 
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square, 

he pronounced unsurpassed by any image expressed 
in writing. The day before he left Richmond, he 


placed in our hands for publication in the Messenger, 
the MS. of his last poem, which has since found its 
way (through a correspondent of a northern paper with 
whom Mr. Poe had left a copy) into the newspaper 
press, and been extensively circulated. As it was de 
signed for this magazine, however, we publish it, even 
though all of our readers may have seen it before : 

[Here follows "Annabel Lee."] 

In what we have said of Mr. Poe, we have been 
considering only the brighter side of the picture. That 
he had many and sad infirmities cannot be questioned. 
Over these we would throw in charity the mantle of 
forgetfulness. The grave has come between our per 
ception and his errors, and we pass them over in silence. 
They found indeed a mournful expiation in his alienated 
friendships and his early death. 

J. R. T. 



[Graham s Magazine, 1850.] 

MY DEAR WILLIS, In an article of yours which 
accompanies the two beautiful volumes of the writings 
of Edgar Allan Poe, you have spoken with so much 
truth and delicacy of the deceased, and, with the 
magical touch of genius, have called so warmly up 
before me the memory of our lost friend as you and I 
both seem to have known him, that I feel warranted 
in addressing to you the few plain words I have to 


say in defence of his character as set down by Mr. 

Although the article, it seems, appeared originally 
in the " New York Tribune," l it met my eye for the 
first time in the volumes before me. I now purpose 
to take exception to it in the most public manner. I 
knew Mr. Poe well, far better than Mr. Griswold ; 
and by the memory of old times, when he was an 
editor of "Graham," I pronounce this exceedingly 
ill-timed and unappreciative estimate of the character 
of our lost friend, unfair and untrue. It is Mr. Poe 
as seen by the writer while laboring under a fit of the 
nightmare, but so dark a picture has no resemblance 
to the living man. Accompanying these beautiful 
volumes, it is an immortal infamy, the death s head 
over the entrance to the garden of beauty, a horror that 
clings to the brow of morning, whispering of murder. 
It haunts the memory through every page of his writ 
ings, leaving upon the heart a sensation of utter gloom, 
a feeling almost of terror. The only relief we feel is 
in knowing that it is not true, that it is a fancy sketch 
of a perverted, jaundiced vision. The man who could 
deliberately say of Edgar Allan Poe, in a notice of his 
life and writings prefacing the volumes which were to 
become a priceless souvenir to all who loved him, that 
his death might startle many, "but that few would 
be grieved by it" and blast the whole fame of the 
man by such a paragraph as follows, is a judge dishon 
ored. He is not Mr. Poe s peer, and I challenge 
him before the country even as a juror in the case. 

" His harsh experience had deprived him of all faith 
in man or woman. He had made up his mind upon the 

1 The " Ludwig Article " expanded afterwards into the "Me 
moir." ED. 


numberless complexities of the social world, and the whole 
system with him was an imposture. This conviction gave 
a direction to his shrewd and naturally unamiable char 
acter. Still, though he regarded society as composed 
altogether of villains, the sharpness of his intellect was 
not of that kind which enabled him to cope with vil 
lainy, while it continually caused him, by overshots, to 
fail of the success of honesty. He was in many respects 
like Francois Vivian in Bulwer s novel of The Caxtons/ 
Passion, in him, comprehended many of the worst emo 
tions which militate against human happiness. You could 
not contradict him, but you raised quick choler ; you 
could not speak of wealth, but his cheek paled with 
gnawing envy. The astonishing natural advantages of 
this poor boy, his beauty, his readiness, the daring 
spirit that breathed around him like a fiery atmosphere, 
had raised his constitutional self-confidence into an arro 
gance that turned his very claims to admiration into preju 
dices against him. Irascible, envious, bad enough, but 
not the worst, for these salient angles were all var 
nished over with a cold, repellant cynicism ; his pas 
sions vented themselves in sneers. There seemed to 
him no moral susceptibility , and, what was more 
remarkable in a proud nature, little or nothing of the 
true point of honor. He had, too, a morbid excess, 
that desire to rise which is vulgarly called ambition, 
but no wish for the esteem or the love of his species; 
only the hard wish to succeed, not shine, nor serve, 
succeed, that he might have the right to despise a world 
which galled his self-conceit." 

Now, this is dastardly, and, what is worse, it is 
false. It is very adroitly done, with phrases very well 
turned, and with gleams of truth shining out from a 
setting so dusky as to look devilish. Mr. Griswold 
does not feel the worth of the man he has undervalued; 
he had no sympathies in common with him, and has 
VOL. i. 26 


allowed old prejudices and old enmities to steal, insen 
sibly perhaps, into the coloring of his picture. They 
were for years totally uncongenial, if not enemies, and 
during that period Mr. Poe, in a scathing lecture upon 
" The Poets of America," gave Mr. Griswold some 
raps over the knuckles of force sufficient to be remem 
bered. He had, too, in the exercise of his functions 
as critic, put to death summarily the literary reputa 
tion of some of Mr. Griswold s best friends ; and 
their ghosts cried in vain for him to avenge them 
during Poe s lifetime ; and it almost seems as if the 
present hacking at the cold remains of him who struck 
them down, is a sort of compensation for duty long 
delayed, for reprisal long desired, but deferred. But 
without this, the opportunities afforded Mr. Griswold 
to estimate the character of Poe occurred, in the main, 
after his stability had been wrecked, his whole nature 
in a degree changed, and with all his prejudices aroused 
and active. Nor do I consider Mr. Griswold com 
petent, with all the opportunities he may have culti 
vated or acquired, to act as his judge, to dissect that 
subtle and singularly fine intellect, to probe the mo 
tives and weigh the actions of that proud heart. His 
whole nature, that distinctive presence of the departed, 
which now stands impalpable, yet in strong outline 
before me, as I knew him and felt him to be, eludes 
the rude grasp of a mind so warped and uncongenial 
as Mr. Griswold s. 

But it may be said, my dear Willis, that Mr. Poe 
himself deputed him to act as his literary executor, and 
that he must have felt some confidence, in his ability 
at least, if not in his integrity, to perform the functions 
imposed, with discretion and honor. I do not pur 
pose, now, to enter into any examination of the ap- 


pointment of Mr. Griswold, nor of the wisdom of his 
appointment, to the solemn trust of handing the fair 
fame of the deceased, unimpaired, to that posterity to 
which the dying poet bequeathed his legacy, but simply 
to question its faithful performance. Among the true 
friends of Poe in this city and he had some such 
here there are those, I am sure, that be did not 
class among villains; nor do they feel easy when 
they see their old friend dressed out, in his grave, in 
the habiliments of a scoundrel. There is something 
to them in this mode of procedure on the part of the 
literary executor that does not chime in with their 
notions of " the true point of honor." They had all 
of them looked upon our departed friend as singularly 
indifferent to wealth for its own sake, but as very 
positive in his opinions that the scale of social merit 
was not of the highest ; that mind, somehow, was apt 
to be left out of the estimate altogether ; and, partak 
ing somewhat of his free way of thinking, his friends 
are startled to find they have entertained very unami- 
able convictions. As to his "quick choler " when 
he was contradicted, it depended a good deal upon the 
party denying, as well as upon the subject discussed. 
He was quick, it is true, to perceive mere quacks in 
literature, and somewhat apt to be hasty when pes 
tered with them ; but upon most other questions his 
natural amiability was not easily disturbed. Upon a 
subject that he understood thoroughly, he felt some 
right to be positive, if not arrogant, when addressing 
pretenders. His "astonishing natural advantages" 
bad been very assiduously cultivated ; his " daring 
spirit" was the anointed of genius ; his self-confidence 
the proud conviction of both ; and it was with some 
thing of a lofty scorn that he attacked, as well as re- 


pelled, a crammed scholar of the hour, who attempted 
to palm upon him his ill-digested learning. Litera 
ture with him was religion ; and he, its high priest, 
with a whip of scorpions, scourged the money-changers 
from the temple. In all else, he had the docility and 
kind-heartedness of a child. No man was more quickly 
touched by a kindness, none more prompt to return 
for an injury. For three or four years I knew him 
intimately, and for eighteen months saw him almost 
daily, much of the time writing or conversing at the 
same desk, knowing all his hopes, his fears, and little 
annoyances of life, as well as his high-hearted struggle 
with adverse fate ; yet he was always the same polished 
gentleman, the quiet, unobtrusive, thoughtful scholar, 
the devoted husband, frugal in his personal expenses, 
punctual and unwearied in his industry, and the soul 
of honor in all his transactions. This, of course, was 
in his better days, and by them we judge the man. 
But even after his habits had changed, there was no 
literary man to whom I would more readily advance 
money for labor to be done. He kept his accounts, 
small as they were, with the accuracy of a banker. I 
append an account sent to me in his own hand, long 
after he had left Philadelphia, and after all knowledge 
of the transactions it recited had escaped my memory. 
I had returned him the story of "The Gold Bug," 
at his own request, as he found that he could dispose 
of it very advantageously elsewhere : 

We were square when I sold you the " Versi 
fication " article, for which you gave, first, $25, 

and afterwards $7 in all $32.00 

Then you bought "The Gold Bug" for . . 52.00 

I got both these back, so that I owed . . . $84.00 


Brought over $84.00 

You lent Mrs. Clemm 12.50 

Making in all $9 6 -5 

The review of " Flaccus " was 3^ pp., 

which, $4, is $15.00 

Lowell s poem is 10.00 

The review of Channing, 4 pp., is $16, 

of which I got $6, leaving . . . 10.00 
The review of Halleck, 4 pp.j is $16, 

of which I got $10, leaving ... 6.00 
The review of Reynolds, 2 pp. . . 8.00 
The review of Longfellow, 5 pp., is 

$20, of which I got $10, leaving . 10.00 

So that I have paid in all 59.00 

Which leaves stiil due by me $37-5 

This, I find, was his uniform habit with others as 
well as myself, carefully recalling to mind his indebt 
edness with the fresh article sent. And this is the 
man who had "no moral susceptibility," and little or 
nothing of the "true point of honor." It may be a 
very plain business view of the question, but it strikes 
his friends that it may pass as something, as times go. 

I shall never forget how solicitous of the happiness 
of his wife and mother-in-law he was whilst one of 
the editors of Graham* s Magazine his whole efforts 
seemed to be to procure the comfort and welfare 
of his home. Except for their happiness, and the 
natural ambition of having a magazine of his own, I 
never heard him deplore the want of wealth. The 
truth is, he cared little for money, and knew less of 
its value, for he seemed to have no personal expenses. 
What he received from me, in regular monthly instal- 


ments, went directly into the hands of his mother-in- 
law for family comforts, and twice only I remember 
his purchasing some rather expensive luxuries for his 
house, and then he was nervous to the degree of 
misery until he had, by extra articles, covered what 
he considered an imprudent indebtedness. His love for 
his wife was a sort of rapturous worship of the spirit 
of beauty which he felt was fading before his eyes. 
I have seen him hovering around her when she was ill, 
with all the fond fear and tender anxiety of a mother 
for her first-born, her slightest cough causing in him a 
shudder, a heart-chill that was visible. I rode out, 
one summer evening, with them, and the remembrance 
of his watchful eyes eagerly bent upon the slightest 
change of hue in that loved face haunts me yet as the 
memory of a sad strain. It was the hourly antici 
pation of her loss that made him a sad and thought 
ful man, and lent a mournful melody to his undying 

It is true, that later in life Poe had much of those 
morbid feelings which a life of poverty and disappoint 
ment is so apt to engender in the heart of man the 
sense of having been ill-used, misunderstood, and put 
aside by men of far less ability, and of none, which 
preys upon the heart and clouds the brain of many a 
child of song. A consciousness of the inequalities of 
life, and of the abundant power of mere wealth, allied 
even to vulgarity, to override all distinctions, and to 
thrust itself, bedaubed with dirt and glittering with 
tinsel, into the high places of society, and the chief 
seats of the synagogue ; whilst he, a worshipper of the 
beautiful and true, who listened to the voices of angels 
and held delighted companionship with them as the 
cold throng swept disdainfully by him, was often 


in danger of being thrust out, houseless, homeless, 
beggared, upon the world, with all his fine feelings 
strung to a tension of agony when he thought of his 
beautiful and delicate wife, dying hourly before his 
eyes. What wonder that he then poured out the 
vials of a long-treasured bitterness upon the injustice 
and hollowness of all society around him. The very 
natural question " Why did he not work and thrive ? " 
is easily answered. It will not be asked by the 
many who know the precarious tenure by which lit 
erary men hold a mere living in this country. The 
avenues through which they can profitably reach the 
country are few, and crowded with aspirants for bread, 
as well as fame. The unfortunate tendency to cheapen 
every literary work to the lowest point of beggarly flim- 
siness in price and profit, prevents even the well-dis 
posed from extending anything like an adequate support 
to even a part of the great throng which genius, talent, 
education, and even misfortune, force into the strug 
gle. The character of Foe s mind was of such an 
order as not to be very widely in demand. The class 
of educated mind which he could readily and profitably 
address was small the channels through which he 
could do so at all were few and publishers all, or 
nearly all, contented with such pens as were already 
engaged, hesitated to incur the expense of his to 
an extent which would sufficiently remunerate him ; 
hence, when he was fairly at sea, connected per 
manently with no publication, he suffered all the 
horrors of prospective destitution, with scarcely the 
ability of providing for immediate necessities ; and 
at such moments, alas ! the tempter often came, 
and as you have truly said, " one glass" of wine 
made him a madman. Let the moralist, who stands 


upon " tufted carpet/* and surveys his smoking 
board, the fruits of his individual toil or mercantile 
adventure, pause before he let the anathema, trem 
bling upon his lips, fall upon a man like Poe, who, 
wandering from publisher to publisher, with his fine, 
print-like manuscript, scrupulously clean and neatly 
rolled, finds no market for his brain with despair 
at heart, misery ahead, for himself and his loved ones, 
and gaunt famine dogging at his heels, thus sinks by 
the wayside, before the demon that watches his steps 
and whispers oblivion. Of all the miseries which 
God, or his own vices, inflict upon man, none are so 
terrible as that of having the strong and willing arm 
struck down to a childlike inefficiency, while the 
Heart and Will have the purpose of a giant s out 
doing. We must remember, too, that the very 
organization of such a mind as that of Poe the 
very tension and tone of his exquisitely strung nerves 
the passionate yearnings of his soul for the beauti 
ful and true, utterly unfitted him for the rude jostlings 
and fierce competitorship of trade. The only drafts 
of his that could be honored were those upon his 
brain. The unpeopled air the caverns of ocean 
the decay and mystery that hang around old castles 
the thunder of wind through the forest aisles the 
spirits that rode the blast, by all but him unseen 
and the deep, metaphysical creations which floated 
through the chambers of his soul were his only 
wealth, the High Change where only his signature 
was valid for rubies. 

Could he have stepped down and chronicled small 
beer, made himself the shifting toady of the hour, and, 
with bow and cringe, hung upon the steps of great 
ness, sounding the g ory of third-rate ability with a 


penny trumpet, he would have been feted alive, and 
perhaps been praised when dead. But, no ! his views 
of the duty of the critic were stern, and he felt 
that in praising an unworthy writer he committed dis 
honor. His pen was regulated by the highest sense of 
duty. By a keen analysis he separated and studied 
each piece which the skilful mechanist had put together. 
No part, however insignificant or apparently unimpor 
tant, escaped the rigid and patient scrutiny of his saga 
cious mind. The unfitted joint proved the bungler 
the slightest blemish was a palpable fraud. He was 
the scrutinizing lapidary, who detected and exposed the 
most minute flaw in diamonds. The gem of first 
water shone the brighter for the truthful setting of 
his calm praise. He had the finest touch of soul for 
beauty a delicate and hearty appreciation of worth. 
If his praise appeared tardy, it was of priceless value 
wher given. It was true as well as sincere. It was 
the stroke of honor that at once knighted the receiver. 
It was in the world of mind that he was king ; and, 
with a fierce audacity, he felt and proclaimed himself 
autocrat. As a critic, he was despotic, supreme. Yet 
no man with more readiness would soften a harsh ex 
pression at the request of a friend, or if he himself felt 
that he had infused too great a degree of bitterness into 
his article, none would more readily soften it down 
after it was in type though still maintaining the 
justness of his critical views. I do not believe that 
he wrote to give pain ; but in combating what he con 
ceived to be error, he used the strongest word that 
presented itself, even in conversation. He labored not 
so much to reform as to exterminate error, and 
thought the shortest process was to pull it up by the 


He was a worshipper of intellect longing to 
grasp the power of mind that moves the stars to 
bathe his soul in the dreams of seraphs. He was 
himself all ethereal, of a fine essence, that moved in 
an atmosphere of spirits of spiritual beauty, over 
flowing and radiant twin-brother with the angels, 
feeling their flashing wings upon his heart, and almost 
clasping them in his embrace. Of them, and as an 
expectant archangel of that high order of intellect, 
stepping out of himself, as it were, and interpreting 
the time he revelled in delicious luxury in a world 
beyond, with an audacity which we fear in madmen, 
but in genius worship as the inspiration of heaven. 

But my object, in throwing together a few thoughts 
upon the character of Edgar Allan Poe, was not to at 
tempt an elaborate criticism, but to say what might 
palliate grave faults that have been attributed to him, 
and to meet by facts unjust accusation ; in a word, to 
give a mere outline of the man as he lived before me. 
I think I am warranted in saying to Mr. Griswold 
that he must review his decision. It will not stand 
the calm scrutiny of his own judgment, or of time, 
while it must be regarded by all the friends of Mr. 
Poe as an ill-judged and misplaced calumny upon that 
gifted son of genius. 

Yours truly, 

PHILADELPHIA, February 2, 1850. 

To N. P. WILLIS, Esq. 


ADAMS, JOHN, President, death of, 1826, 56. 

" Al Aaraafand Minor Poems," 72, 75. 

Albemarle, county of, distinguished families in, 50. 

Alexander, C. W., testifies to Poe s gentleness of disposition, 1355 
denies Poe s neglect of his office duties, 157. 

Allan, Hoffman, son of John Allan, 2d, 78. 

Allan, John, adopts Edgar Poe, 12 5 mythical stories of his wealth, 
14 5 business failure of, 15 ; receives inheritance from his uncle 
Gait, 1 6 5 sends Poe to University of Virginia, 16 ; sails with 
his family to England, 1 7 5 engaged in tobacco business, 22 j 
dies of dropsy, 1 1 1 . 

Allan, John, son of John and Louisa Gabriella Allan, 78. 

Allan, Mrs. (the first), dies, 77. 

Allan, Patterson, son of John and Louisa Gabriella Allan, 78. 

Allan, William Gait, son of John and Louisa Gabriella Allan, 78. 

Ambler, Richard Gary, appears in dramatic representation with 
Poe, 25. 

Anderson, Beverley, member of the Thespian Society, 28. 

" Annabel Lee," first mention of, 304. 

" Arcturus," poem addressed by Mrs. Whitman to Poe, 284. 

Arnold, Elizabeth, mother of the poet. See Poe, Mrs. Elizabeth. 

Arthur, T. S., assumes control of " The Saturday Visiter," 99. 

Aylette, Patrick Henry, writes for Richmond "Examiner," 317. 

"BALLOON HOAX," the, published, 193. 

Barrett, Elizabeth (Mrs. Browning), admires "The Raven," 


Bartlett, Hon. John R., Poe visits, 245. 

Beale, Upton, companion of Poe at University of Virginia, 41. 
Bedloe, Augustus, Poe makes the acquaintance of, 64. 
" Bells, The," occasion of its production, 286. 
Bernard, P. D., receives letter from Poe in relation to establishing 

new magazine, 178. 
Bisco, John, connection of, with the " Broadway Journal," 210 ; 

sells the "Journal " to Poe, 212. 

1 The Appendix is indexed separately ; see page 427. 



Blaettermann, professor at University of Virginia, 40, 45, 46, 54. 

Bliss, Elam, publishes Poe s third volume of poems, 92. 

Botta, Mrs. (Miss Anne Charlotte Lynch), Memoirs of, reviewed 

by R. H. Stoddard, 241 5 salon of, 241-245. 
Bransby, Dr., Poe s teacher at Stoke-Newington, 19. 
Brennan, Patrick, "The Raven" written at the house of, 224. 
Brennan, Mrs. Patrick, denies charges of Poe s dissipation, 224, 

et seq. 

Brennan, Thomas S., 224. 
Briggs, Charles F. , criticisms and insinuations of, 201 5 sharply 

criticised by Poe, 210 ; excluded from management of " Broad 
way Journal , " 212. 

Broad-street Theatre, Richmond, burned, 1 1 . 
" Broadway Journal," Poe acquires control of, 210 ; collapse of, 


Brooks, N. C., unable to procure an usher s place for Poe, 96. 
Browne, Dr. William Hand, 227, note , note from, concerning 

Poe s death, 327. 

Browning, Robert, admires "The Raven," 214. 
Bryant, William C., at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244. 
Buchanan, Rev. John, baptizes Edgar and Rose Poe, 23. 
Burke, William, Poe s schoolmaster, 25. 
Burton, William E., requests Graham to buy "The Gentleman s 

Magazine," 1395 criticised by Poe, 128. 
Burwell, William M., gives account of Poe s career at University 

of Virginia, 39, 41, 47. 

CABELL, ROBERT G., accompanies Poe in a swim down the James 

River, 25 ; close friend of Poe, 28. 
Calhoun, John C., leader of State Rights politics, 317. 
Campbell, John, assists Poe in obtaining admission to West Point, 


Carlyle, Thomas, unseals the fountains of German ideology, romance, 
and poetry, 153. 

Carter, Dr. Gibbon, spends day in Richmond with the poet, 326. 

Carter, Dr. John, Poe spends last evening in Richmond in office 
of, 326. 

Childs, George W., purchases "Ledger" and "Dollar Maga 
zine," and changes name to the " Home Weekly and House 
hold Newspaper," 140. 

Chivers, Dr. Thomas Holley, writes friendly letter to Poe, 1905 
writes of German "criticism," 192. 

Clarke and Burke, teachers of Poe, 19, 54. 

INDEX. 413 

Clarke, T. Cottrell, gives pen-picture of Poe s home-life in Phila 
delphia, 138. 

Clay, Cassius, a visitor at Mrs. Botta s salon, 245. 

Cleef, Augustus van, writes an article in " Harper s" on Poe s 
" Mary," 96. 

Clemm, Mrs. (Poe s mother-in-law), gives account of her ances 
try, 45 testifies to Poe s temperance, 161 ; praised by N. P. 
Willis, 204 ; sketch of, by Miss Amelia F. Poe, 206 j be 
friended by the Richmonds, 301 ; parting of, from Poe, 306 5 
suffering "for the necessaries of life," 325 ; grief of, upon poet s 
death, 338 ; dies in Baltimore, 339. 

Clemm, Rev. W. T. D., reads burial service at Poe s funeral, 336, 


Clemm, Virginia, carries letters between the lovers (Poe and 
"Mary"), 975 marries Poe, 1145 ruptures a blood-vessel 
while singing, 180, 185 ; her death, 265 5 burial-place of, 268. 

Clemm, William, stepfather of the poet s wife, in. 

Cloud, C. F., establishes "The Saturday Visiter," 99. 

" Conchologist, The," published by Poe, 146. 

Converse, Rev. Amasa, marries Poe and Virginia Clemm, 115. 

Creighton, William A., companion of Poe at University of Vir 
ginia, 41. 

Cullum, Gen., criticises Poe s third volume, 93. 

Curtis, George W., welcomes Mrs. Whitman s poems, 283. 

DANIEL, JOHN M., writes reminiscence of Poe, 247 ; editor of 

Richmond "Examiner," 317. 
Davidson, James Wood, letter of J. R. Thompson to, concerning 

Poe, 300. 

Davis, Dr. Hugh Wythe, gives interesting glimpse of Poe, 27. 
Davis, N. K., professor at University of Virginia, 52. 
Dawes, Rufus, editor, reviews " Al Aaraaf" unfavorably, 76. 
De Hart, John, grandfather of Mrs. Louisa Gabriella Allan, 77. 
Dickens, Charles, startled by Poe s power, 172; character in one 

of his famous novels suggested by Mrs. Helen Whitman, 292. 
Didier, E. L., gives account of publication of " Al Aaraaf," 75 ; 

" Life and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe," 244. 
Distinguished men, list of, graduated from University of Virginia, 

" Dollar Magazine " awards prize to Poe for " The Gold-Bug," 


Drayton, Col. William, work dedicated to, by Poe, 148. 
Drum, Adjutant-General, verifies fact of Poe s enlistment, 69. 


EATON, MAJOR JOHN, U. S. Secretary of War, 79. 

Ellet, Mrs., a visitor at Mrs. Botta s salon, 245. 

Ellis, Powhatan, senator from Mississippi, appointment of Poe to 

West Point, due to, 79. 

Ellis, Col. T. H., furnishes sketch of Poe s boyhood, 2227. 
Embury, Mrs., at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244. 
E - , Mrs., meddles in Poe s private affairs, 296 ; trouble of Poe 

with family of, 297. 
English, Thomas Dunn, issues final number of " Broadway Jour 

nal," 240 ; engaged in libel suit with Poe, 252. 
" Eureka," production of, 274. 

Everett, Edward, on Jefferson s educational views, 38. 
" Examiner," the Richmond, organ of the State Rights politics, 

FERGUSSON, JOHN W ., corrects proofs for "Messenger," 127. 
Fitzgerald, Bishop, sketches Poe s personal appearance in 1849, 


Francis, Dr. J. W., at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244. 
Fuller, Margaret (Countess Ossoli), has controversy with Poe, 245 ; 

remonstrates with Poe, 296, 297. 

GALT, WILLIAM, leaves fortune to John Allan, 165 successful 

merchant, 23. 

" Gentleman s Magazine," Poe becomes assistant editor of, 148. 
George, Miles, roommate of Poe at University of Virginia, 39,41. 
German philosophy, metaphysics, and medievalism, spirit of, spreads 

over the English and American mind, 153. 
Gholson, Judge Thomas S., constant companion of Poe at Uni 

versity of Virginia, 41. 

Gibson, T. H., writes of Poe at West Point, 85-92. 
Gildersleeve, Prof. B. C., writes of Poe s personality, 315. 
Gill, W. F., statement of, regarding David Poe s death, 10 ; de 

scribes Poe s residence in Philadelphia, 135 ; receives letter from 

Mrs. Sarah Whitman in relation to Poe, 293. 
Gillespie, W. M., at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244- 
Gove, Mrs., finds the Poes living in great wretchedness, 261 ; 

gives pathetic glimpse of the Poe family, 261. 
Gowans, William, testifies to Poe s sobriety while in New York, 

Graham, George R., the good angel of Poe s life, 138 ; testifies to 

Poe s solicitude for the happiness of his wife and mother-in-law, 


INDEX. 415 

" Graham s Magazine," its influence on American letters, 139; 
remarkable contributors to, 141. 

Greeley, Horace, writes to Griswold of Poe s contemplated mar 
riage with Mrs. Whitman, 289. 

Green, J. B., furnishes recollections of Mrs. Mary O. Moran, 


Greenhow, James, appears in dramatic representation with Poe, 25. 

Griswold, Capt., in regiment with Poe, 71. 

Griswold, Dr. Rufus Wilmot, statement of, in relation to prize won 
by Poe, refuted by J. H. B. Latrobe, 105 ; statement of, in re 
gard to Poe s clothing, a sheer fabrication, 109 5 pays tribute to 
the beauty of the Poes home in Philadelphia, 135, 137; the 
evil angel of Poe s life, 1385 becomes editor of "Graham s 
Magazine," 1405 biography of, 1425 writes concerning Poe s 
severance of connection with "Graham s," 176- dismissed by 
Graham from editorship of the magazine, 177 ; introduces R. 
H. Stoddard into Mrs. Botta s salon, 241 ; a rival of Poe in the 
affections of Mrs. Osgood, 244 ; contrasted with Poe, 250, 
251 $ receives letter from Horace Greeley in relation to Poe s 
marriage with Mrs. Whitman, 289 ; scandalous anecdote related 
by, denied by Mrs. Whitman, 294 ; accepts proposal to become 
Poe s literary executor, 323. 

Gwynn, William, editor, becomes acquainted with Poe, 73 ; shows 
manuscript of " Al Aaraaf" to Latrobe, 106. 

HALE, REV. EDWARD EVERETT, describes Lyceum system of lectur 
ing, 275. 

Halleck, Fitz-Greene, at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244, 245. 

Halsey, F. R., pays $2,550 for a copy of Poe s first volume, 67. 

Hannay, James, denies Poe s sense of humor, 258 ; reviews his 
mental characteristics, 258, et seq. 

Harris, A. B., writes of sickness of Poe s wife, 185. 

Hart, Mr., the sculptor, a visitor at Mrs. Botta s salon, 245. 

Hatch, Mrs. John P. (Miss Adelaide Burkle ), owner of autograph 
letter from Poe, 220. 

Haven, Benny, 88, et seq. 

Hawkes, Dr. F. L., invites Poe to New York, 133. 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, publishes "The Unpardonable Sin" in 
"Home Weekly and Household Newspaper," 140. 

Headley, , a visitor at Mrs. Botta s salon, 245. 

Heath, James E., editor of " Southern Literary Messenger," 126, 

Herring, Henry, takes charge of Poe s remains, 336. 

4 i6 


Hewitt, John H., editor, reviews " Al Aaraaf" unfavorably, 76 5 
wins second prize in literary contest, 106. 

Hewitt, Mrs. M. E., at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244 5 describes suf 
fering condition of Poe s family, 260. 

Higginson, Col. T. W., bears testimony to the beauty of Poe s 
voice, 97. 

Hirst, biographer of Poe, 96. 

Hodges, Dr., rector of St. Paul s parish, 115. 

Holmes, Oliver Wendell, writes to Griswold in behalf of Poe, 261. 

Hopkins, C. D., first husband of Mrs. Elizabeth (Arnold) Poe, 6. 

Home, Richard Hengist, criticises " Annabel Lee," 305. 

House, Col. James, in regiment with Poe, 71. 

Howard, Lieut., in regiment with Poe, 71. 

Howard, " Nat," a distinguished Latinist, schoolmate of Poe, 20. 

Hoyt, Ralph, at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244. 

Hughes, Robert W., discusses economic questions in Richmond 
" Examiner," 317. 

Hunt, Freeman, a visitor at Mrs. Botta s salon, 245. 

INGRAM, JOHN H., testimony of, in relation to Poe s ancestry, 3 ; 
describes origin of " The Bells," 286 5 "writes the best biography 
of Poe, 338. 

Irving, Washington, editor of "Knickerbocker," 141 ; acknowl 
edges Poe s genius, 155. 

Isbell, George E., letter of Poe to, relating to "Eureka," 277. 

JEFFERSON, THOMAS, founds the University of Virginia, 34 j at 
tempts to stop card-playing at the University, 43 5 considers an 
outside police necessary at University, 51 5 contends that geog 
raphy and history should be studied together, 54, 555 death of, 
1826, 56. 

Johns, Rev. John, reported to have married Poe and Miss Clemm, 

KENNEDY, JOHN P., letter to, from Poe, I j on committee to 
award prizes for poem and story for " Saturday Visiter," 99 ; 
invites Poe to dinner, no; aids Poe in securing position on 
"Southern Literary Messenger," 116. 

Kirkland, Mrs., at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244, 245. 

LAFAYETTE visits Richmond and Jefferson in 1824, 55. 

Lang, Andrew, writes of Poe s prose romances, 152. 

Latrobe, J. H. B., on committee to award prizes for story and 

INDEX. 417 

poem for "The Saturday Visiter," 99 5 his account of the con 
test, 99, 102-110; kind to Poe, no. 

Lee, Gen. Robert E., 84. 

Lee, Hon. Z. Collins, present at Poe s burial, 337. 

Leland, Charles Godfrey, editor of " Graham s Magazine," 141. 

Lewis, Mrs. S. D. See Robinson, Miss. 

Lincoln, Robert T., verifies fact of Poe s enlistment, 69. 

Literati of New York, Poe s opinion of, 249, 250. 

Livingston, Catherine, grandmother of Mrs. Louisa Gabriella Al 
lan, 77. 

Locke, Joe, satirized by Poe, 87. 

Locke, Richard Adams, editor of New York " Sun," 1935 a 
visitor at the salon of Mrs. Botta, 245. 

Long, George, literary career of, 38 ; professor at University of 
Virginia, 40, 44. 

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, accused of plagiarism by Poe, 1465 
suggests lines from "For Annie " as an epitaph for Poe s monu 
ment, 302. 

Lowell, James Russell, error of, in relation to Poe s age, 3 ; praises 
Poe s stan/a "To Helen," 31 ; a subordinate editor of " Gra 
ham s Magazine," 140; eulogizes Poe s tales, 1445 publishes 
the "Pioneer," 175; lauds Poe s genius, 202, 2035 de 
nounced by Poe as an abolitionist, 202. 

Lowndes, Adjutant-General, in regiment with Poe, 71. 

Lyceum system of lecturing, 275. 

Lynch, Miss Anne Charlotte. See Botta, Mrs. 

MACKENZIE, DR., with Poe on his last day in Richmond, 326. 

Mackenzie, Mr., cares for the Poe children, n. 

McBride, Jane, wife of John Poe, 4. 

Mclntosh, Maria, gives Poe letter of introduction to Mrs. Whit 
man, 285. 

McMurtrie, Prof., joint author with Poe of " Conchologist s Text- 
Book," 147. 

Madison, James, ex-President, 80. 

Magruder, John B., classmate of Poe at West Point, 69. 

Manley, Mrs., takes lock from Poe s chamber door as souvenir, 227. 

Marshall, Chief-Justice, 80. 

" Mary," Poe s sweetheart, 97, 98. 

Matthews, drill-master at University of Virginia, 39. 

Maury, Mathew F., editor of " Southern Literary Messenger," 

Mayo, Col. John, uncle of Mrs. Louisa Gabriella Allan, 78. 

VOL. I. 27 

418 INDEX. 

Miller, Dr. James H., on committee to award prizes for story and 
poem for " The Saturday Visiter," 99 ; kind to Poe, no. 

Minor, Dr. B. B., writes notice of Thomas W. White, 125 ; 
gives reminiscences of Poe to author of this book, 220. 

Minor, Lucian, editor of "Southern Literary Messenger," 1*7. 

Monroe, James, ex-President, 80. 

Montague, Mrs. Dwight, 78. 

"Moon Hoax," the, 195. 

Moran, Dr. J. J., testifies to Poe s temperance, 162 ; receives com 
munication from Mrs. Shelton regarding her relations with Poe, 
314 ; gives account of the poet s last hours, 332, et seq. 

Moran, Mrs. Mary O., reminiscences of, 337. 

Morgan, Appleton, writes of Poe s character and habits, 161, 162$ 
defends Poe against charge of reselling his manuscripts, 260. 

Morris, George P., criticised by Poe, 189 ; at Mrs. Botta s salon, 

Mott, Dr., diagnoses Poe s case, 269. 

NEAL, JOHN, corresponds with Poe, 73, 76. 
Nelson, Robert B., writes concerning Poe s marriage, 115. 
Newman, Cardinal, imitates Poe in his famous "Lead, Kindly 
Light," 68. 

O BEIRNE, GEN. JAMES R., describes Poe s residence at the home 
of Patrick Brennan, 224. 

Osgood, Mrs. Frances Sargent, testifies to Poe s love for his wife, 
184; at Mrs. Botta s salon, 243; a paragon, 243; her death, 
2445 defends the poet, 295, 2975 pens self-contradictory com 
munication to Griswold, 298. 

PABODIE, WILLIAM J., contradicts scandalous anecdote told by 

Griswold, 294. 
Patterson, E. H. W., arranges with Poe to publish "The Stylus," 

Patterson, Capt. John, grandfather of Mrs. Louisa Gabriella Allan, 


Patterson, John William, father of Mrs. Louisa Gabriella Allan, 77. 
Patterson, Mrs. Louisa De Hart, mother of Mrs. Louisa Gabriella 

Allan, 77. 
Patterson, Miss Louisa Gabriella, marries Mr. John Allan, 77 ; 

her character, 78. 
Perry, Edgar A., name assumed by Poe on enlisting in U. S. Army, 

69, 70. 



Peterson, Charles J., edits fl Graham s Magazine," 140. 
Petticolas, Arthur E., contribution to Richmond " Examiner," 


Philadelphia, intellectual atmosphere of, in the thirties and forties, 

Poe, Miss Amelia F., furnishes sketch of Mrs. Clemm, 206. 

Poe, Gen. David, the poet s grandfather, a veteran of the Revolu 
tion, 4. 

Poe, David, father of the poet, 4 ; marries Mrs. C. D. Hopkins, 
6; becomes a strolling player, 6 ; death of, 10. 

Poe, Edgar Allan, writes letter to J. P. Kennedy, I ; precocity of, 
compared to that of Shelley, Heine, Keats, and Hugo, 2 ; states 
that he w?s born in Boston, 2 ; discussion in relation to his 
birthplace, 3 5 rails at Boston, 3 5 his ancestry, 4, 5 j birth in 
Boston, 6 ; his birth year coincident with that of many eminent 
persons, 8 ; death of his parents, 10 5 adopted by Mr. John 
Allan, 12; atmosphere of his childhood, 13; leaves home for 
the University, 16; goes to school in England, 17; influence 
of his training there, 17-20; psychological effect on his tem 
perament of long sea-voyages, 20, 21 ; boyhood of, sketched by 
Col. T. H. Ellis, 22-27 5 entered as a student at the University 
of Virginia, 26 ; interesting glimpses of, while in the University, 
25-34 ; love episode with Miss Sarah Elmira Royster, 32, 33 ; 
prepares to enter the University of Virginia, 34 ; joins the Uni 
versity, 36 ; associates at the University, 37 ; social habits and 
scholarship, 40 ; his constant companions, 41 ; reads his literary 
productions to friends, 42; nicknamed " Gaffy " Poe, 43; 
escapades, 44; his proficiency in Italian, 45, 46; leaves the 
University, 47 ; extraordinary powers of analysis, 48 ; his intro 
duction to Latin and Greek, 54 ; his penchant for geography, 54 ; 
his penchant for moon-hoaxes and lunar voyages, 55 ; his fond 
ness for French and France, 55 ; not indifferent to the advantages 
of debate, 60 ; his university career crowned with scholastic hon 
ors, 62 ; little or no moral training, 62 ; the gift of poesy his 
one solace, 63 ; his early poems, 64 ; had contracted debts at the 
University, 65 ; leaves the Allan home, 65 ; appearance at Bos 
ton of "Tamerlane and Other Poems," 65 ; the first of his 
defiant prefaces, 68 ; enlists in U. S. Army, 70 ; promoted ser 
geant-major, 70; returns to Richmond, 70; honorably discharged 
from the service, 72 ; influence of army routine, 72 ; publishes 
" Al Aaraaf," 75 ; writes to Neal in relation to " Al Aaraaf," 
76 ; enters the Academy at West Point, 79 ; the atmosphere of 
West Point, 80 ; chafes under the discipline at West Point, 84 j 

420 INDEX. 

contrast to his honorable career as a U. S. soldier, 85 ; account of 
his life at West Point by T. H. Gibson in " Harper s Maga 
zine," 85-92; court-marti ailed and dismissed from the Academy, 
92.; publishes a third volume of poems, 92; contents of the 
volume, 93 ; obscurity in his biography from 18311836, 96 ; 
seeks employment from William Gwynn, a Baltimore editor, 96 ; 
unable to secure an usher s place in Brooks s school, 96 ; love 
episode with "Mary," 97, 98; competes for a prize story 
and poem for "The Baltimore Visiter," 98110; winning the 
prize surrounds him with a blaze of publicity, 101 ; becomes the 
talk of the town, 110; rupture with the Allans, in ; death 
blow to his hopes of becoming Allan s heir, 1 1 1 ; Mrs. Allan s 
niece relates story of the rupture with the Allans, 111-113 ; 
issues the prospectus of a first-class literary journal, 113; licensed 
to marry Virginia Clemm, 114; a second license procured, and 
ceremony performed by Rev. Amasa Converse, 115; becomes 
editor of the " Southern Literary Messenger," 116; sends tales 
to " Messenger," 1 16 ; sends tales to Miss Leslie for "Souvenir," 
117 ; his income and reputation increasing, 117 ; receives warn 
ing note from White, 117; suffers from depression of spirits, 
Ii8; his gratitude to Kennedy, 118; variety and multiplicity 
of his work, 118; the evil habit of borrowing grows upon 
him, 119; retires from editorship of "Messenger," 120; 
cause of the rupture between Poe and White, 121 ; his contri 
butions to the "Messenger," 121123 ; addicted to drugs and 
stimulants, 123; his case never scientifically diagnosed, 124; 
his position on the "Messenger" not a bed of roses, 124 ; re 
moves to New York, 128; testimony to his sobriety at this 
time, 128; carefully trained his wife, 129; Mrs. Clemm testi 
fies to his domesticity, 129 ; his fable-autobiographies, 130132 ; 
completes "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," 133; 
removes to Philadelphia, 133 ; pleasing glimpses of his domestic 
life, 134-138; contributes to " Graham s Magazine," 139; a 
quarrel leads to his dismissal, 139 ; wins prize with "The Gold- 
Bug" from "Dollar Magazine," 140; his "Descent into 
Maelstrom" and "Murders in the Rue Morgue " appear in 
" Graham s Magazine," 140, 141 ; declines to review Irving, 
143; contributes u Ligeia " and other tales to "American 
Museum," 143, 144 ; eulogized by Lowell, 144 ; list of his 
contributions to various magazines, 145 ; accuses Longfellow of 
plagiarism, 146; publishes "The Conchologist " and "Tales 
of the Grotesque and Arabesque," 146, 147 ; becomes associate 
editor of " Gentleman s Magazine and American Monthly Re- 

INDEX. 421 

view," 148 ; dedicates volume to Col. William Drayton, 148 ; 
types and characteristics of his works, 148, 149 ; amount of 
work accomplished, 149 ; title-page, preface, and dedication to 
11 Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque," 149-152 j becomes 
inoculated with the spirit of German occultism, 154; towers 
among his contemporaries as a giant, 155; Irving acknowledges 
his genius, 155 ; believes himself to be a great critic, 155 ; ap 
pointed editor of the "Gentleman s Magazine," 156; re 
prints some of his poems in the magazine, 156; announces 
publication of new magazine, 157 ; quarrel with Burton, 157161 ; 
letter to Dr. J. E. Snodgrass, describing his habits at Richmond 
and Philadelphia, 158-161 5 Dr. J. J. Moran testifies to his 
temperance, 162; writes letter to Burton, 163-167; expresses 
his opinion of Mr. Graham, 168 ; writes good-natured criticism 
of Burton, 168 ; " Penn Monthly" scheme fails, 1685 in 
fluence of his contributions to " Graham s " on contemporary 
literature, 169; his cryptographic studies, 169-171 ; great liter 
ary industry, 172; his power startles Dickens, 172; develops a 
strange power of analytical reasoning, 173; wonderfully produc 
tive period of his stay in Philadelphia, 173, 174; contributes to 
Lowell s " Pioneer," 175 ; writes courteous letter to Lowell, 
176; ceases to be editor of "Graham s," 176; letter in re 
gard to establishing a new magazine, 178; seeks a government 
position, 179 ; effect on his mind of his wife s sickness and 
death, 180 ; susceptible to effect of intoxicating liquors, 181 ; 
writes to Mrs. Whitman concerning his indulgence in stimulants, 
182; Graham testifies to his solicitude for the happiness of his 
wife and mother-in-law, 182 ; the worship of woman an ab 
sorbing feature in his life, 183 j his love for his wife, 1845 son 
net to his mother-in-law, 185 ; caustic excoriation of Griswold, 
1 86 ; again finds himself in New York, 186 ; growth of his 
critical instinct, 187, et seq. ; an analyst of admirable powers, 
189 5 receives friendly letter from Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers, 
190; his literary " ripeness," 193; writes the "Balloon 
Hoax," 195; a recondite and most exquisite humorist, 197; 
hoaxing an ingrained element of his intellectual make-up, 198 ; 
his places of residence in New York, 198 ; his literary labors in 
1844, 199; corresponds with Lowell, 200, 201; denounces 
Lowell as an abolition fanatic, 202 ; engagement on " Evening 
Mirror," 207 ; his opinion of N. P. Willis, 207, 208 5 the 
banner year of his literary life, 209 ; acquires control of the 
" Broadway Journal," 210 ; sharp criticism of Charles F. Briggs, 
210 j accuses Longfellow of plagiarism, 211 ; leaves the "Mir- 

422 INDEX. 

ror," 211 j first appearance of "The Raven," 213 ; author 
criticises it under pseudonym of "Quarles," 214; analyzes the 
mechanism of his poem, 215, 216 ; its genesis and evolution, 
2175 letter to John Augustus Shea, 218; frequently called 
upon to recite "The Raven," 222 5 the poem written in New 
York, 224; the year 1845 "the fullest of work," 228 j his 
own opinion of his prose work, 229 ; entangled in the " Long 
fellow War," 229, et seq. ; his charges of plagiarism, 232 
234; numerous contributions to the magazines, 235, 236; his 
war on transcendentalism, 236238 ; disappoints a Boston au 
dience in his readings, 237 ; becomes a cult with the French 
school of Theophile Gautier, 2385 interest excited by his mes 
meric hoax, 238 ; dedicates a volume of poems to Elizabeth 
Barrett, 2395 collapse of the "Broadway Journal," 240; his 
social and literary life in New York, 241 ; enamored with 
Frances S. Osgood, 243 ; has controversy with Margaret Fuller, 
245 5 the year 1846 the beginning of his " moral and physical 
descent," 248 5 gives his opinion of the literati of New York, 
249, 250; contrasted with Griswold, 250, 251 5 his libel suit 
against Thomas Dunn English, 252; his home at Fordham, 
252, et seq. , his mental characteristics reviewed by Hannay, 
258, 259 5 poverty his greatest crime, 260 ; suffering condition 
of his family, 260, et seq. ; O. W. Holmes writes to Griswold 
in his behalf, 261 j Mrs. Gove-Nichols gives pathetic glimpse of 
the Poe family, 261-263 j addresses passionate lines to Mrs. M. 
L. Shew (Mrs. Houghton), 264; death of Virginia Poe, 265; 
agony of Poe s utter loneliness, 266 5 Mrs. Clemm watches 
over him, 267 5 a settled gloom threatens his reason, 267 ; des 
perately ill and unnerved, 269 ; his genius recognized abroad, 
272, 273 ; reads his " Eureka " to a small audience, 2745 the 
book published by Putnam, 276 ; gives analysis of the work, 
277-279 5 compared with Lucretius, 279, 280 ; his passion for 
Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, 281, et seq. ; writes poem of 
"The Bells," 2865 engaged to Mrs. Whitman, 290; the 
marriage broken off, 29 1 ; his memory defended by Mrs. Whit 
man and Mrs. Osgood, 294, 295 ; has personal difficulty with 
family of Mrs. E , 297 ; visits Richmond, 299 5 his ac 
quaintance with Mrs. S. D. Lewis ("Stella"), 300, et seq. ,- 
suffering from repeated disappointments, 302 ; writes " Annabel 
Lee," 3045 last glimpse of him in New York, 305; leaves 
for Richmond, 306; the last days in Richmond, 310, et seq. ; 
renews acquaintance with his old flame, Miss Royster, 313 ; 
reads "The Raven" in Richmond, 316; arranges to become 

INDEX. 423 

literary editor of " Examiner," 3185 takes a pledge of total 
abstinence, 318; starts for Baltimore, 321; cheerfulness on 
leaving Richmond, 322; requests Griswold to become his liter 
ary executor, 323 ; gives Thompson manuscript of " Annabel 
Lee," 3245 getting ready for his second marriage, 325; his 
last day in Richmond, 3265 in Baltimore, 327; death, 328- 
336; burial, 337; manuscripts left at his death, 339. 

Poe, Mrs. Edgar A. See Clemm, Virginia. 

Poe, Mrs. Elizabeth (Arnold, Hopkins), description of, 5 j theat 
rical wanderings of, 6, 8, 95 finds her best friends in Boston, 
7; decline of, 95 death of, 10 j burial of, in Richmond, Va., 
II ; reference to, 22, 23. 

Poe, John, progenitor of the family in America, 4. 

Poe, John P., statement of, concerning Poe s ancestry, 3, 4. 

Poe, Neilson, opposes marriage of Edgar Allan Poe and Virginia 
Clemm, 1145 takes charge of Poe s remains, 336. 

Poe, Rosalie, birth of, 7 5 adopted by the Mackenzies, 14. 

Poe, William, declares "the cup" to be "a great enemy to the 
Poe family," 138. 

Poe, William Henry Leonard, birth of, 7 ; adopted by his grand 
father, 22 ; death, 23 ; a cadet in the navy, 72. 

Pouder, W. P., connected with "The Saturday Visiter," 99. 

Power, Sarah Helen. See Whitman, Mrs. Sarah Helen. 

Preston, Col. J. T. L., places Poe on a high level as a scholar, 

20, 54. 

Preston, James P., aids Poe in entering West Point, 79. 
Pryor, Mrs. W. R., daughter of John Allan, 2d, 78. 
Putnam, G. P., publishes "Eureka," 276. 

RANDOLPH, JOHN, of Roanoke, 80. 

Randolph, Col. Thomas Mann, Governor of Virginia, 21. 

"Raven, The," first appearance of, 213 ; analyzed by Poe, 215, 

216; its genesis and evolution, 217. 

Richard, John, the Poe children baptized at residence of, 23. 
Richmond, Va. , account of, 12. 

Richmonds, the, befriend Poe and Mrs. Clemm, 301. 
Ripley, George, in critical chair of " New York Tribune," 242 ; 

warmly welcomes Mrs. Whitman s poems, 283. 
Ritchie, William F., appears in dramatic representation with Poe, 

25 ; member of the Thespian Society, 28 . 
Robinson, Miss (Mrs. S. D. Lewis), the "Stella" of Poe, tells 

of her acquaintance with him, 300; Poe s admiration of, 3015 

writes of Poe s last day in New York, 306. 

424 INDEX. 

Royster, Miss Sarah Elmira (Mrs. Shelton), engaged to Poe, 32, 
33; renews acquaintance with Poe, 313. 

SARTAIN, JOHN, denies that Poe sold his poems several times, 288 j 

gives glimpses of Poe s last days, 306.. et seq. 
Scott, Gen. Winfield, charges on a ghost, 26 ; assists in raising 

money for relief of Poe, 269. 
Sedgwick, Miss, at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244, 245. 
Selden has fight with Poe at Burke s school, 27. 
Seward, Miss M. L., writes of poverty in Poe s family, 260. 
Shea, Judge George, possesses letter written to his father by Poe 

concerning "The Raven," 218; his personal acquaintance 

with Poe, 219. 
Shea, John Augustus, letter from Poe to, 218; associates at West 

Point, 219. 

Shelton, Mrs. See Royster, Miss Sarah Elmira. 
Shew, Mrs. Marie Louise (Mrs. Houghton), 96; assists the Poes, 

264, 265 ; inspires Poe to write " The Bells," 286. 
Simms, William Gilmore, at Hingham, Mass., 243. 
Slaughter, Philip, companion of Poe at University of Virginia, 41. 
Smith, Edmund, present at Poe s burial, 337. 
Smith, Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes, criticised by Poe, 189; at Mrs. 

Botta s salon, 244. 

Smith, F. H., professor at University of Virginia, 44. 
Smith, Mrs. Seba, a visitor at Mrs. Botta s salon, 245. 
Smyth, A. H., relates story of " Graham s Magazine," 139. 
Snodgrass, Dr. J. E., acquires control of "The Saturday Visiter," 

99 ; letter of Poe to, describing his trouble with Burton, 158- 

161 ; his account of Poe s death, 328 ; present at Poe s burial, 

Spencer, Mr., writes concerning Poe s death, 328, et seq. 
Stanard, Mrs. Jane Stith, Poe s first love, 305 death of, 31; 

Poe s devotion to, 281. 
Stanard, Monroe, intimate with Poe, 28. 
Stanard, Robert C., accompanies Poe in a swim down James River, 

Stephens, Ann S., edits " Graham s Magazine," 140; at Mrs. 

Botta s salon, 244. 

Stevenson, A., speaker of House of Representatives, 79. 
Stoddard, Richard Henry, sketches literary celebrities in New York 

in 1846, 241. 

Sroke-Newington, residence of Poe in, 17-19. 
Story, W., hears Poe lecture, 211. 

INDEX. 425 

" Stylus," the, new magazine proposed by Poe, 275. 

" Sun," the New York, made famous by Locke s " Moon Hoax," 

and Poe s "Balloon Hoax," 195. 
" Swan Tavern," the, in Richmond, where Poe put up, 311. 

" TAMERLANE and Other Poems " appears at Boston, 65. 

Taylor, Bayard, editor of " Graham s Magazine," 141. 

Tennyson compared with Poe, 95. 

Thayer, Col., of West Point, satirized by Poe, 87. 

" The Magician," poem by Poe, 73. 

Thomas, Calvin F. S., Poe s first publisher, 66. 

Thomas, Dr. Creed, appears in dramatic representation with Poe, 
25; Poe s desk-mate at Burke s school, 27, 54; member of 
the Thespian Society, 28. 

Thomas, F. W., receives letter from Poe, 2 j fails to secure a gov 
ernment position for Poe, 179. 

Thompson, John R., on intimate terms with Poe at Richmond, 
299; writes concerning Mr. and Mrs. Browning s admiration of 
Poe, 300; receives " anything Poe might send," 3155 re 
ceives manuscript of " Annabel Lee," 324. 

Thornton, Dr. Philip, unveils a ghost, 26. 

Ticknor, George, advocates Jefferson s reform educational views, 

38, 56. 

Tucker, Beverley, remembers Poe s mother when a girl, 5. 

Tucker, George, professor of moral philosophy at University of Vir 
ginia, 37. 

Tucker, Judge Henry St. George, editor of " Southern Literary 
Messenger," 127. 

Tucker, T. G., intimate friend of Poe at University of Virginia, 

39, 42. 

UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA founded and planned by Jefferson, 34 5 
scenery surrounding it, 35 ; arrival of Poe at, 36 ; gambling at, 
43> 4^> 5j dissipation at, 49, 51 ; outside police necessary to 
preserve order, 51, 52; rules and regulations gradually increased, 
52; improvements, 52; student life at, 53, 54; crucial years 
in its history, 56 ; graduates remarkable list of distinguished men, 
57-60 ; its social and intellectual environment, 60 ; possesses 
unaddressed letter of Poe, 270. 

VALENTINE, Miss, wife of John Allan, 17. 

Valentine, Miss Anne, rejects the suit of Mr. Allan, 77. 

4 z6 


WALKER, JOSEPH W., sends note to Dr. Snodgrass on Poe s distress, 

Ward, Dr. Thomas, at Mrs. Botta s salon, 244. 

Wat, Dunn, companion of Poe at University of Virginia, 41. 

Weiss, Mrs. Susan Archer, speaks of Poe s last days, 313 5 de 
scribes Poe s cheerfulness on leaving Richmond, 322. 

Wertenbaker, William, librarian of University of Virginia, 37, 39, 

4 1 , 45-47- 

West Point, Poe enters, 79 ; atmosphere of, 80 5 list of contem 
poraries of Poe at, in 1830, 81-845 P e dismissed from, 92. 

Whipple, E. P., writes book reviews for " Graham s Magazine," 

White, Eliza, visits the Clemms and Poes, 128. 

White, Thomas W., editor and proprietor of " Southern Literary 
Messenger," n6j increases Poe s salary, 1175 sends warning 
note to Poe, 1175 notice of, by Dr. B. B. Minor, 125. 

Whitman, John W., husband of Mrs. Sarah H. Whitman, 282. 

Whitman, Mrs. Sarah Helen, connects her own and Poe s ances 
try with the Anglo-Norman family of Le Poer, 4 ; gives sketch 
of Poe s first love episode, 30 5 Poe s statement to, concerning 
his indulgence in stimulants, 1825 " Introductory Letter " of, 
to "Life and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe," 2445 describes 
Poe s home at Fordham, 254, et seq. ; Poe s passion for, 281 ; 
poems of, 282, etseq.$ Horace Greeley s description of, 289; 
her engagement to Poe, 290; the engagement broken, 291; 
effect on her life of her connection with the poet, 292 ; her 
story suggests a character in one of Dickens s novels, 292 ; let 
ter from, to W. F. Gill, 293. 

Willis, Nathaniel P., praises Mrs. Clemm, 204; gives his impres 
sions of Poe, 207 5 Poe s opinion of, 207, 208 j publishes Poe s 
"Raven" in his "Evening Mirror," 2135 at Mrs. Botta s 
salon, 242 j one of the few editors of his time who appreciated 
Poe, 271 ; helps Poe in his project of establishing a new maga 
zine, 275 ; reprints Poe s lines " For Annie," 302. 

Wilmer, L. A., describes origin of "The Saturday Visiter," 99 ; 
frequent companion of Poe in his walks, in. 

Woodberry, Prof. George E., traces out the wanderings of the Ar 
nolds and Poes, 6 5 establishes fact of Poe s enlistment in U. S. 
Army, 69, 70 5 gives version of rupture between Poe and Low 
ell, 203. 

Wyatt, Prof., joint author with Poe of " Conchologist s Text- 
Book," 147. 


ALLAN, JOHN, did not legally adopt Poe, 343 ; Poe brought up in 
the family of, 344, 3495 refuses to pay Poe s "debts of honor," 
345 ; marries Miss Patterson, a relative of Gen. Winfield Scott, 

345, 35- 

" Annabel Lee," Poe presents manuscript of, to Griswold, 357. 
"Arthur Gordon Pym," 353, 382. 
Autobiography of E. A. Poe, 343. 
Autography, " 354. 

"BALTIMORE Saturday Visiter, The," awards prize to Poe for con 
tributions, 345. 

Barrett, Elizabeth B., speaks of Poe s tales, 386. 
"Bells, The," 396. 
Bransby, Rev. Doctor, Poe attends school of, at Stoke Newington, 

344, 350- 

British journals, no trace of Poe s contributions to, 344. 
Browning, Robert, admiration of Poe by, 386. 
Burton, W. E., Poe s engagement with, 346, 353. 

CARTER, DR. JOHN F., mentioned in connection with Poe s auto 
biography, 343. 

Channing, W. E., his poems alluded to, 369. 

Clemm, Mrs. Maria, her Preface to the Griswold edition of Poe s 
works, 3475 letter of, to N. P. Willis, 366. 

Collier, Mr., letter of, alluded to, 386. 

Colton, Walter, writes to Griswold on his criticism of Poe, 348 . 

Cooke, P. Pendleton, paper of, on Poe, 383. 

"DESCENT into the Maelstrom, A," 387. 

Dunglison, Dr., president of University of Virginia, 345. 

" EUREKA," 353. 


"FALL of the House of Usher," alluded to by Griswold, 356 ; by 

J. R. Lowell, 379. 
Fuller, Margaret, reviews Poe s first volume of Poems in * New 

York Tribune," 351. 

GRAHAM, GEORGE R., defence of Poe by, 399, et seq. 

"Graham s Magazine," Poe writes for, 353. 

Griswold, R. W., Poe furnishes account of his early life to, 343 5 
requested by Poe to be his literary executor, 347 ; writes bio 
graphical notice of Poe for " New York Tribune," 348 ; Wal 
ter Col ton to, on his criticism of Poe, 348 5 his obituary notice 
of Poe mentioned by N. P. Willis, 360. 

Griswold, Mrs. Wm. M., Poe s manuscript autobiography in pos 
session of, 343. 

" HANS PHAAL," 387. 

"Haunted Palace, The," 380. 

Hawks, Dr., invites Poe to write for " New York Review," 346. 

" Heart, The Tell-Tale," 388. 

Henry, Professor, invites Poe to write for " New York Review," 

" Home Journal, The," biographical sketch of Poe in, 347, 360. 

KENNEDY, JOHN P., on committee to award prizes to contributors 
to " Baltimore Saturday Visiter," 345, 351. 

LAFAYETTE, Gen., David Poe an intimate friend of, 344, 34$ 
Latrobe, J. H. B., on committee to award prizes to contributors to 

"Baltimore Saturday Visiter," 345. 
"Lenore," 381. 

Lewis, Mr., of Brooklyn, assists Poe, 354. 

Lewis, Mrs. Estelle Anna, requested by Poe to write his life, 347. 
"Ligeia," 374, 388. 

Longfellow, H. W., tribute of, to Poe, 398. 
Lowell, James Russell, sketch of Poe, 347. 
"Ludwig Article, The," 348. 

, Admiral JAMES, daughter of, marries John Poe, father of 

Gen. David Poe, 344, 349. 
McBride, Jane, daughter of Admiral James McBride, mother of 

Gen. David Poe, 344, 349. 
"Marginalia," 353. 


Middleton, Henry, American consul at St. Petersburg, befriends 

Poe > 345> 35. 
Miller, Dr. I. H., on committee to award prizes to contributors to 

"Baltimore Saturday Visiter," 345. 
" MS. Found in a Bottle," 388. 

NEAL, JOHN, alluded to, 374. 

" New York Review," Poe writes for, 346. 

PATTERSON, Miss, marries John Allan, 345. 

Perry, Edgar A., assumed name of Poe in U. S. army, 343. 

Poe, Gen. David, service of, in the Revolution, 344, 349 5 an 
intimate friend of Lafayette, 344. 

Poe, Mrs. David, mother of the poet, died of pneumonia, 343. 

Poe, Edgar A., autobiography of, 343 5 in the University of Vir 
ginia, 343, 345 5 no trace of his contribution to British journals, 
344 ; goes to school to Rev. Doctor Bransby at Stoke Newing- 
ton, England, 344, 350; Mr. John Allan refuses to pay his 
"debts of honor," 345 ; desires R. W. Griswold to be his lit 
erary executor, and N. P. Willis to write observations upon his 
life and character, 347 ; attempts to join revolutionary army in 
Greece, 345, 3505 visits St. Petersburg, 345, 3505 goes to 
West Point as a cadet, 345, 350 ; leaves West Point, 345, 350 5 
prints a small volume of poems in 1827, 350 5 conducts " Broad 
way Journal," 353; writes for "Graham s Magazine," 353; 
publishes volume of "Tales," 3535 presents manuscript of 
"Annabel Lee" to Griswold, 357; N. P. Willis on death of, 
360, et seq. , early efforts of, compared by Willis, with those of 
Shakspeare, Milton, Pope, Collins, Chatterton, Kirke, White, 
Southey, Watts, Coleridge, Byron, Wordsworth, and Cowley, 
371, 372; P. Peadleton Cooke on, 383; obituary memoir of, 
by John R. Thompson, 392 ; tribute of Longfellow to, 398 ; 
defence of, by George R. Graham, 399, et seq. 

Poe, Mrs. Edgar A. (Virginia Clemm), death of, 354. 

Poe, John, father of Gen. David Poe, 344, 349. 

"RAVEN, THE," alluded to by Griswold, 356 ; observation of N. 
P. Willis on, 359; praise of, by P. P. Cooke, 384; mention 

f, 397- 
Redfield, J. S., publishes Griswold s edition of Poe s works, 347. 


" Sketches of the Literati of New York," 354. 


" Southern Literary Messenger," Poe invited to assume editorship 

of, 345, 35*- 
Stoke Newington, Poe attends Rev. Doctor Bransby s school at, 

344, 35- 
Stylus, The," 363. 

THOMPSON, JOHN R., obituary memoir of Poe by, 392. 
To Helen," 373. 
To One in Paradise," 391. 
Tribune, New York," biographical notice of Poe in, 348. 

<ULALUME," alluded to, 363. 
Universe, The," subject of Poe s lecture, 364. 
University of Virginia, Poe enters, 343, 345, 350. 

" VALDEMAR Case, The," 386. 

WEBB, Colonel, collects money to assist Poe, 354. 

Weiss, Mrs. S. A., mentioned in connection with Poe s autobi 
ography, 343. 

White, T. W., writes Poe to assume editorship of "Southern Lit 
erary Messenger," 345, 352. 

Willis, N. P., requested by Poe to write observations on his (Poe s) 
life and character, 347. 


EXPLANATORY. Titles of the editions of collected 
poems are printed in ITALIC CAPITALS; titles of 
the editions of collected tales, in ROMAN CAPITALS; 
single poems, in SMALL CAPITALS; single tales, in italics; 
books reviewed by Poe are "quoted"; essays, miscella 
nies, and editorials are not quoted; newspapers and maga 
zines are printed in italics ; B. J. means Broadway Journal, 
vols. i. and ii. ; S. L. M. indicates Southern Literary Mes 
senger ; 1827, 1829, 1831, 1833, 1840, 1843, T S4S, are dates 
of the editions of collected poems and tales. 


TONIAN. Boston : Calvin F. S. Thomas. 1827. 
40 pp. izmo. Reprinted in London, by George Redway, 
1884, with a Preface by R. H. Shepherd. 


EMS. By EDGAR A. POE. Baltimore: Hatch & 
Dunning. 1829. 71 pp. 8vo. 


POEMS. By EDGAR A. POE. Second Edition. New 
York: Published by Elam Bliss. 1831 Though the 
second edition of AL AARAAF, most of the poems are 
here published for the first time. 124 pp. i2mo. 


, I8 33 

/ MS. Found in a Bottle. Baltimore Saturday Visiter, Oct. 
" 12, 1833; S. L. M., December 1835; The Gift, 1836, 
1840; B. J., ii. 14. 


List of Poe s Tales, Reviews, etc., in the Southern Literary 

William Cullen Bryant s "Poems " (review), January. 

Berenice (tale), March 1835, 1840; B. J., i. 14. 

Morella (tale), April 1835; Burton s Gentleman s Magazine, 

November 1839, 1840; B. J., i. 25. 
HYMN (in "Morella"). 
"Confessions of a Poet" (review), April. 
Some Passages in the Life of a Lion: Lionizing (tale), April 

1835, 1840, 1845; B. J., i. ii. 

Featherstonhaugh s " I Promessi Sposi " (review), May. 
John P. Kennedy s "Horse-Shoe Robinson" (review), 


" Frances Anne (Kemble) Butler s Journal " (review), 
t May. 
TJu- -Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Phaal (tale), 

June 1835, 1840. 
R. M. Bird s " 

The Infidel, or the Fall of Mexico" (review), 

The Crayon Miscellany, No. II. (review), July. (Poe re 
viewed No. III. of this series in the December number.) 

Theodore Irving s " The Conquest of Florida " (review), 

J ul y- 

The Assignation (The Visionarv) (tale), July 1835, 1840; 
B. J., i. 23. 

Notices of Foreign Reviews (review), July. 

To MARY, July 1835; To ONE DEPARTED, Graham s Mag 
azine, 1842 ; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 
1843; To F B - J- i- T 7- 

A running commentary on Current Literary Events, called 
" Critical Notices and Literary Intelligence," August. 

THE COLISEUM. Baltimore Saturday Visiter, Southern Lit 
erary Messenger, August ; Philadelphia Saturday Evening 
Post, June 12, 1841 ; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, 
March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, ii. i. 

Bon Bon (tale), August 1835, 18405 B. J., i. 16. 


Shadow: A Parable (tale), September 1835, 1840; B. J., 
i. 1 6. 

To F s O D. Lines written in an Album. Sep 

Loss of Breath : A Tale Neither in nor Out of " Blackwood" 
September 1835, 1840; B. J., ii. 26. 

King Pest: A Talc containing an Allegory, September 

1835, l8 4; B - J- " J 5- 

Mephistopheles in England (review), September. 
" The Classical Family Library," Nos. xv., xvi., xvii. (re 
view), September. 
Robert Southey s " The Early Naval History of England " 

(review), September. 
"The Gift" (review), September. 
"Scenes from an Unpublished Drama" (Poe s drama 

poem POLITIAN), December. 
E. S. Barrett s " The Heroine ; or Adventures of Cheru- 

bini " (review), December. 
Lady Dacre s " Tales of the Peerage and Peasantry " 

(review), December. 

" The Edinburgh Review," No. cxxiv. (review), December. 
Robinson s Practice (review), December. 
R. M. Bird s "The Hawks of H^vk Hollow" (review), 

William Maxwell s " A Memoir of the Reverend John H. 

Rice, D.D." (review), December. 
"The Crayon Miscellany" (review), December. 
Walter Anderson s " Oration on the Life and Character of 

the Rev. Joseph Caldwell, D.D." (review), December. 
Reynolds s Francis Glass s " A Life of George Washington 

in Latin Prose " (review), December. 

Theodore S. Fay s "Norman Leslie" (review), December. 
Miss Sedgwick s " The Linwoods " (review), December. 
William Godwin s "Lives of the Necromancers" (review), 

James HalFs " Sketches of Life and Manners in the West " 

(review), December. 

"Clinton Bradshaw" (review), December. 
"Nuts to Crack," etc. (review), December. 
Charles Joseph Latrobe s " The Rambler in North Amer 
ica" (review), December. 
Judge Story s " Discourse on Chief- Justice Marshall," Bin- 

ney s " Eulogium " (review), December. 
Inaugural Address of the Rev. D. L. Carroll, D.D. (review), 


VOL. i. 2S 


E. Stannard Barrett s "The Heroine " (review), December. 

Sarah J. Rale s "Traits of American Life" (review), De 

Lucian Minor s "An Address on Education," etc. (review), 

"Legends of a Log Cabin. By a Western Man." (Re 
view.) December. 

In the Southern Literary Messenger. 

"Zinzendorf and Other Poems," by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney ; 

41 Poems," by Miss H. F. Gould ; " Poems," Translated 

and Original, by Mrs. E. F. Ellet (review), January. 
Metzenger stein (tale), January 1836, 1840. 
W. G. Simms s " The Partisan : A Tale of the Revolution " 

(review), January. 

" The Young Wife s Book " (review), January. 
Miss Sedgwick s " Tales and Sketches " (review), January. 
Francis Lieber s " Reminiscence of an Intercourse with 

M. Niebuhr the Historian," etc. (review), January. 
"The South-West " (review), January. 
Defoe s " The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson 

Crusoe," etc. (review), January. 

Sarah Stickney s " The Poetry of Life " (review), January. 
" The Christian Florist " (review), January. 
Morris Matson s " Paul Ulric," etc. (review), February. 
Peter Mark Roget s " Animal and Vegetable Physiology " 

(review), February. 
Joseph Martin s "A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of 

Virginia" (review), February. 
Lieut. Slidell s " The American in England " (review), 

Bulwer s " Rienzi, The Last of the Tribunes" (review), 


Henry F. Chorley s " Conti the Discarded " (review), Feb 
L. A. Wilmer s " The Confession of Emilia Harrington " 

(review), February. 
" Rose Hill" (review), February. 
Palaestine (essay), February. 
" Noble Deeds of Woman (review), February. 
A Chapter on Autography (essay), February and August. 


The Due de L Omelette (tale), February 1836, 1840; B. J., 

ii. 14. 
" Contributions to the Ecclesiastical History of the United 

States of America Virginia," etc. By Rev. Francis L. 

Hawks, D.D. (Review.) March. 
Mrs. L. Miles s " Phrenology/ etc. (review), March. 
"Mahmoud" (review), March. 

"Georgia Scenes, Characters/ etc. (review), March. 
To HELEN, March. 
J. K. Paulding s " Slavery in the United States" (review), 

Four Beasts in One: The Homo-Cameleopard (tale), March 

1836, 1840; B. J., ii. 22. 
The Poems of J. R. Drake and Fitz-Greene Halleck 

(review), April. 

Bubbles from the Brunnens of Nassau" (review), April. 
Maelzel s Chess-Player (essay), April. 
A Tale of Jerusalem, April 1836, 1840; B. J., ii. n. 
To SCIENCE, May 1845 \ B - J- n - 4- 

Robert Walsh s "Didactics Social, Literary, and Politi 
cal" (review), May. 
Anthon s "Sallust" (review), May. 
Lieut. Slidell s "Spain Revisited" (review), May. 
Frances Trollope s " Paris and the Parisians " (review), 


J. K. Paulding s "Life of Washington " (review), May. 
J. F. Cooper s " Switzerland" (review), May. 
IRENE, May; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 

1843; B - J-> i- l8 - 
" A Pleasant Peregrination through Pennsylvania," etc. 

(review), June. 
John Armstrong s "Notices of the War of 1812 " (review), 


" Recollections of Coleridge" (review), June. 
Rev. Calvin Colton s " Thoughts on the Religious State of 

the Country," etc. (review), June. 
Maury s " Navigation " (review), June. 
Stone s "Ups and Downs in the Life of a Distressed Gen 

tleman" (review), June, 
Dickens s " Watkins Tottle" (review), June. 
"Flora and Thalia" (review), June. 
" House of Lords " (review), July. 

Mrs. L. H. Sigourney s " Letters to Young Ladies (re 
view), July. 


" The Doctor " (review), July. 

Frederick Von Raumer s England in 1835" (review), 


" Memoirs of an American Lady " (review), July. 
William D. Gallagher s " Erato " (review), July. 
"Camperdown" (review), July. 

Leigh Ritchie s " Russia and the Russians " (review), July. 
Rev. Orville Dewey s " The Old World and the New," etc. 

(review), August. 

edition of 1831); American Whig Re-view (sub-title A 

PROPHECY), April 1845; B - J- 8 - 
Charles Richardson s " New Dictionary of the English 

Language" (review), August. 

S. C. Hall s "The Book of Gems" (review), August. 
Lynch s " South Sea Expedition " (review), August. 
James S. French s " Elkswatawa" (review), August. 
"Letters Descriptive of the Virginia Springs" (review), 


Lieut. Slidell s " A Year in Spain " (review), August. 
* The Adventures of a Gentleman in Search of a Horse " 

(review), August. 

Prof. J. H. Ingraham s "Lafitte" (review), August. 
" Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs," March 31, 

1836 (review), August. 
Pinakidia (essay), August. 
Draper s "Lectures" (review), August. 
Lieber s "Memorial" (review), August. 
David B. Edwards s "The History of Texas" (review), 

ISRAFEL, August ; Graham s Magazine, October 1841 ; 

Phil. Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; B. J., ii. 3. 
"Inklings of Adventure" (review), August. 
Lydia Maria Child s " Philothea : a Romance " (review), 

September. Also Broadway Joiirnal, 
" Sheppard Lee" (review), September. 
William Hazlitt s * Literary Remains," etc. (review), Sep 

Joseph Robinson s " The Swiss Heiress " (review), Octo 
S. A. Roszel s "Address at Dickinson College" (review), 

Sir N. W. Wraxall s " Posthumous Memoirs of His Own 

Times " (review), October. 


"American Almanac for 1837" (review), October. 

J. F. Cooper s Sketches of " Switzerland" (review), Octo 

Prof. Thomas R. Dew s " Address before the Students of 
William and Mary " (review), October. 

Henry F. Chorley s "Memorials of Mrs. Hemans" (re 
view), October. 

Dr. Robert W. Haxall s "Dissertation," etc. (review), 

Captain Basil Hall s " Skimmings, or a Winter at Schloss 
Hainfeld" (review), October. 

" Peter Snook " (review), October. Also Broadway Journal, 

G, P. R. James s "Life of Richelieu," etc. (review), Octo 

Baynard R. Hall s " Latin Grammar" (review), October. 

Eland s "Chancery Reports" (review), October. 

" Memoirs of Lucien Bonaparte " (review), October. 

"Madrid in 1835" (review), October. 

" Medical Review " (review), November. 

Z. Collins Lee s " Address delivered before the Baltimore 
Lyceum," etc. (review), November. 

"The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club" (review), 


THE BRIDAL BALLAD, Southern Literary Messenger, 
January; Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, July 31, 
1841 J B. J., ii. 4. 

Beverley Tucker s " George Balcombe " (review), Southern 
Literary Messenger, January. 

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Southern Literary 
Messenger, January, February, 1837, 1838. 

Washington Irving s " Astoria " (review), Southern Liter 
ary Messenger, January. 

Charles Anthon s "Select Orations of Cicero" (review), 
Southern Literary Messenger, January. 

J. N. Reynolds s "South Sea Expedition" (review), South 
ern Literary Messenger, January. 

"Poems by William Cullen Bryant" (review), Southern 
Literary Messenger, January. 

To ZANTE, Southern Literary Messenger, January ; Phila 
delphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843 > B. J-> " 2 - 

[Poe adds a note here : " Mr. Poe s attention being called 
in another direction, he will decline, with the present 


number, the editorial duties of the Messenger. His Crit 
ical Notices for this month end with Professor Anthon s 
Orations what follows is from another hand. With 
the best wishes to the Magazine, and to its few foes as 
well as many friends, he is now desirous of bidding all 
parties a peaceable farewell."] 

J. L. Stephens s "Arabia Petraea" (review), New York 
Review, October. 


Harper & Brothers. 1838. 201 pp. I2mo. Reprinted in 
London, 1838, 1841, 1861, etc. 

Foe s Reply to his Critics. Southern Literary Messenger ; 
July Supplement. 

Ligeia (tale), The American Museum, September 1838, 
1840; B. J., ii. 12. 

How to Write a Blackwood Article. The American Mu 
seum, December, 1838, 1840; B. J., ii. I. 

A Predicament ( The Scythe of Time] (tale), The American 
Museum, December 1838, 1840; B. J., ii. 18. 


Silence: A Fable (tale), Baltimore Book, 1839, 1840; B. J., 
ii. 9. 

Literary Small Talk (essay), American Museum, January, 

Preface and Introduction to " The Conchologist s First 

THE HAUNTED PALACE, Baltimore Museum, April ; Bur 
ton s Gentleman s Magazine (in "The Fall of the House 
of Usher"), September; in "Tales," 1840. 

The Devil in the Belfry (tale), Philadelphia Saturday Chron 
icle and Mirror of The Times, May 18, 1839, 1840; B. J., 
ii. 18. 

A. POE. Philadelphia : Haswell, Barrington, and Has- 
well. 1839. pp. 156. I2mo. Second edition, with 12 
colored plates. Philadelphia, 1840. I2mo. Also re 
printed anonymously, Philadelphia, 1845. 


Contributions to Burton s Gentleman s Magazine. 

"George P. Morris" (review), May; Southern Literary 
Messenger, April, 1849 (revised). 



J. Fenimore Cooper s " History of the American Navy " 
(review), July. 

James s " Celebrated Women" (review), July. 

Wyatt s " Synopsis of Natural History " (review). Short 
notices, etc., July. 

The Man that was Used Up (tale), August 1839, l8 4> l8 43 5 
B. J., ii. 5. 

FAIRY LAND, August; also appeared in 1829, 1831, 1845; 
B. J. ii. 13. 

To THE RIVER , August. 

Wallace s " Triumphs of Science " (review), August. 

N. P. Willis s " Tortesa," and several short notices, Au 

Fall of the Hoiise of Usher (tale), September 1839, 1840, 


Glenn s "Reply to the Critics" (review), September. 

Lord Brougham s " Historical Sketches of Statesmen " 
(review), September. 

"Solomon See-saw" (review), September. 

" Undine " (review), September. 

William Wilson (tale), October 1839; The Gift, 1840; 
B. J. ( ii. 8. 

Longfellow s " Hyperion" (review), October. 

Murray s " Travels in North America " (review), and short 
notices, October. 

Morella (tale), November. 

"Canons of Good Breeding" (review), November. 

W. Gilmore Simms s " Damsel of Darien" (review), and 
short notices, November. 

fThe Conversation of Eiros and Charmion (tale), December 
* 1839, 1840, 1845. 

Dickens s "Nicholas Nickleby" (review), December. 

Joseph O. Chandler s " Address before the Goethean Soci 
ety " (review), December. 

Thomas Moore s " National Melodies of America " (re 
view), and short notices, December. 



BESQUE. By EDGAR A. POE. In two volumes. Phil 
adelphia: Lea & Blanchard. pp. 243, 228. i6mo. 

Contributions to Burton s Gentleman s Magazine* 

Journal of Julius Rodman, chap. I. (tale), January. 

Moore s "Alciphron" (review), January. 

Mathews "Memoirs" (review), January. 

Journal of Julius Rodman {continued}, February. 

The Business Man (Peter Pendulum] (tale), February; 
B. J., ii. 4. 

Longfellow s " Voices of the Night " (review), February. 

Marryat s " Diary in America " and short notices (re 
view), February. 

Journal of Jiiliiis Rodman (continued}, March. 

Henry Duncan s " Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons " 
(review), March. 

N. P. Willis s " Romance of Travel " and short notices 
(review), March. 

SILENCE, April ; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 
1843; B. J.,ii. 3. 

Journal of Julius Rodman (continued], April. 

A Notice of William Cullen Bryant, May. 

Journal of Julius Rodman (continued), May. 

The Philosophy of Furniture (essay), May; Broadway Jour 
nal, i. 1 8. 

Madame Malibran s " Memoirs and Letters " (review), 

Some Account of Stonehenge (essay), June. 

Journal of Jiilius Rodman (tale) (continued], June. 

The Man of the Crowd (tale), December 1840, 1845. 

Mystification (Von Jung] (tale), 1840; Broadivay Journal, 

ii. 25. 
Why the Little Frenchman Wears his Hand in a Sling (tale) r 

1840 ; Broadway Journal^ ii. 9. 


Contributions to Graham s Magazine. 

J. Fenimore Cooper s "Mercedes of Castile" (review), 

Mrs. Norton s " Dream and Other Poems " (review), 

James McHenry s " The Antediluvians, or the World De 
stroyed" (review), February. 

W. H. Ainsworth s " The Tower of London " (review), 

Longfellow s Ballads and other Poems " (review), March. 

William Howitt s " Visits to Remarkable Places," etc. (re 
view), March. 

R. M. Walsh s (trans.) " Sketches of Conspicuous Living 
Characters of France " (review), April. 

The Murders in the Rue Morgue (tale), April 1841, 1843, 

Bulwer s " Night and Morning" (review), April. 

A Descent into the Maelstrom (tale), May 1841, 1845. 

C. F. Francis s "Writings of Charles Sprague " (review), 

Dickens s " Old Curiosity Shop " and " Master Humph 
rey s Clock " (review), May. 

The Island of the Fay (tale), June ; B. J., ii. 13. 

G. P. R. James s " Corse de Leon " (review), June. 

Macaulay s " Critical and Miscellaneous Essays " (review), 

A Few Words on Secret W T riting (essay), July. 

Pue s " Grammar of the English Language " (review), 

Seba Smith s " Po what an " (review), July. 

Lord Bolingbroke s " Works" (review), July. 

The Colloquy of Monos and Una (tale), August 1841, 1845. 

"Life and Literary Remains of L. E. L." (Letitia E. Lan- 
don), (review), August. 

L. A. Wilmer s " Quacks of Helicon " (review), August. 

Irving s Margaret M. Davidson s "Biography and Poeti 
cal Remains" (review), August. 

J. L. Stephens s " Incidents of Travel in Central America" 
(review), August. 

Secret Writing (Thomas s Letter and Poe s Answer), Au 

To HELEN, September. 


Never Bet the Devil your Head: A Tale with a Moral, 
September 1841 ; B. J., ii. 6. 

Thomas Campbell s " Life of Petrarch " (review), Septem 

Marryat s " Joseph Rushbrook " (review), September. 

ISRAFEL, October. 

A Chapter on Autography (essay), November. 

"John G. Palfrey " (review), November. 

W. H. Ainsworth s "Guy Favvkes " (review), November. 

"The Gift" (review). November. 

E. L. Bulwer s " Critical and Miscellaneous Essays " (re 
view), November. 

" The Pic Nic Papers," edited by Dickens (review), No 

Napier s "Peninsular War" (review), November. 

Warren s "Ten Thousand a Year" (review), November. 

A Chapter on Autography, II. (essay), November. 

" Lucretia Maria Davidson s Poetical Remains " (review), 

Simms s "Confession" (review), December. 

Some Secrets of the Magazine Prison-House (essay), Broad 
way Journal, i. 7. 

Anastatic Printing (essay), Broadway Journal, i. 15. 

Street Paving (essay), Broadway Journal, i. 16. 

Three Sundays in a Week (tale), Saturday Evening Post, 
Nov. 27 ; B. J., i. 19. 

Contributions to Graham s Magazine. 

An Appendix of Autographs (essay), January. 

Henry Cockton s " Stanley Thorn" (review), January. 

Oliver Goldsmith s " Vicar of Wakefield " (review), Janu 

Christopher North s (Prof. John Wilson) "Critical and 
Miscellaneous Essays" (review), January. 

Mrs. Sigourney s " Pocahontas and Other Poems " (review), 

Review of New Books, January. 

A Few Words about Brainard (review), February. 


Cornelius Mathews "Wakondah" (review), February; 

Godey s Lady s Book, November, 1845. 

Dickens s "Barnaby Rudge " (review), February; Philadel 
phia Saturday Evening Post, May I, 1841. 
Charles Lever s "Charles O Malley, the Irish Dragoon" 

(review), March. 
" The Critical and Miscellaneous Writings of Henry Lord 

Brougham" (review), March. 
To ONE DEPARTED, March ; Saturday Museum, March 4, 


L. P. Poulter s "Imagination" (review), March. 
Longfellow s " Ballads and Other Poems " (review), April. 
Algernon Henry Perkins s " Ideals and Other Poems " 

(review), April. 

The Oval Portrait (tale), April; B. J., i. 17. 
Hawthorne s " Twice-Told Tales " (review), April. 
The Masque of the Red Death, A Fantasy (tale), May 1842 ; 

B. J., ii. 2. 
Hawthorne s " Twice-Told Tales " (review, continued from 

April), May. 

Bulwer s "Zanoni" (review), June. 
Griswold s "Poets and Poetry of America" (review), 


Tennyson s " Poems " (review), September. 
The Poetry of Rufus Dawes : A Retrospective Criticism, 

Mr. Griswold and the Poets, Boston Miscellany, November. 

Eleonora (tale), The Gift, 1842; B. J., i. 21. 

The Landscape Garden (tale), Snowdetfs Lady s Companion, 
October 1842; B. J., ii. n. 

The Mystery of Marie Roget, a Sequel to the " Murders in 
the Rtie Morgue (tale), Snowden s Lady s Companion, 
November, December, 1842; February 1843, l8 45- 


THE CONQUEROR WORM, Graham s Magazine, January ; 
Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843 ; B. J., i. 21 j 
ii. 12 (LIGEIA). 


The Tell- Tale Heart (tale), The Pioneer, January ; B. J,, 

ii. 7. 

The Pit and the Pendulum (tale), The Gift, 1843 ; B - J-? 
i. 20. 

The Mystery of Marie Rogfa (tale), Snowden s Lady s Com 
panion, February. 

Our Amateur Poets, No. I ; Flaccus, Graham" 1 * Magazine, 

LENORE, The Pioneer, Graham s Magazine, February ; 
Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4. Appeared in 
the edition of 1831, and in the Southern Literary Messen 
ger, January, 1836, under the title A P^EAN, B. J., ii. 6. 

The Rationale of Verse (essay), The Pioneer, March 1843, 
as " Notes on English Verse," in its first draft : Southern 
Literary Messenger, October, November, 1848, elabor 

ROMANCE, Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1845 > 
B. J, ii. 8. 

AL AARAAF, Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4. 

THE SLEEPER, Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4. 
Appeared in the edition of 1831, and in the Southern 
Literary Messenger, May 1836, under the title of IRENE. 

The Gold-Bug (tale), Prize Story of The Philadelphia Dol 
lar Newspaper, June 21-28, 1843; l8 45- 

No. i [all published]. The Murders in the Rue Morgue 
and The Man that was Used Up. Philadelphia. 1843. 

The Black Cat (tale), The Philadelphia United States Satur 
day Post, Aug. 19, 1843, 1845. 

Contributions to the New Mirror published by Willis and 
Morris, New York. Attributed to Poe as follows : 

Souvenirs of Youth (headed " Original Translation from 

the French," signed E. P.), May 13. 
The Master Spirits of their Age. Translated from the 

French (signed E. P.), June 3. 
Anecdotes of Suwarrow. Translated from the French for 

the New Mirror (signed E. P.), June 3. 
The Head of St. John the Baptist (Translated from the 

French for the New Mirror (signed E. P.), June 17. 
The Literary Pirate Foiled. An Incident in the Life of 


Anne Radcliffe. Translated from the French for the 

New Mirror (signed E. P.), June 24. 
A Morning s Walk in the Luxembourg. Translated from 

the French for the New Mirror (signed E. P.), July i. 
The Merchant s Daughter. Translated from the French 

for the New Mirror (signed E. P.), July 15. 
The above continued under the same title (signed E. P.), 

July 22. 
The above continued, with the heading " The Merchant s 

Daughter." A Novel from the French of M. Scribe. 

Translated by A Lady for the New Mirror (no initial 

signed), July 29. 
The above continued, under the same heading as in July 

29 (signed E. P.), Aug. 5. 

The same story and title (signed E. P.), Aug. 12. 
The same (signed E. P.), Aug. 19. 
The same (signed E. P.), Aug. 26. 
The same (signed E. P.), Sept. 2. 
The same under the following heading : (Communicated.) 

The Merchant s Daughter. A Novel from the French 

of M. Scribe (concluded) (signed E. P.), Sept. 9. 
Ennui. From the French of Eugene Guinot. Translated 

for the New Mirror (signed E. P.), Sept. 23. 
The Yellow Rose. Translated for the New Mirror from 

the French of Bernard. A novel in Four Parts. Part I., 

Oct. 7. 

The same. Part II. (not signed), Oct. 14. 
The same. Part III. (not signed), Oct. 21. 
The same, concluded (signed E. P.), Oct. 28. 
The Two Marines in India. From the French of A. Lig- 

niers (signed E. P.), Nov. 4. 
Women are Sometimes Fickle. Translated for the New 

Mirror horn the French of De Maynard (signed E. P.), 

Nov. ii. 

The Man Without a Name. Translated for the New Mir 
ror from the French of S. H. Berthoud (signed E. P.), 

Nov. 25. 
The Two Empresses. Translated for the New Mirror from 

the Gazette de Lausanne (signed E. P.), Dec. 2. 
Expectation. Translated from the French of Souvestre 

(signed E. P.), Dec. 2. 
The Story of a Cup of Tea. Translated for the New 

Mirror from the French of J. Lecompte (signed E. P.), 

Dec. 16. 


The Poet s Laura. Translated from the French for the 
New Mirror (signed E. P.), Dec. 23. 

Three Visits to the Hotel des Invalides, 1705-1806-1840. 
Translated for the New Mirror from the French of 
Emile Marco de Saint Hilaire (signed E. P.), Dec. 30. 

Our Amateur Poets, No. 3. William Ellery Channing, 
Graham s Magazine, August. 

Our Contributors, No. VIII. Fitz-Greene Halleck, Gra 
ham s Magazine, September. 

J. F. Cooper s " Wyandotte " (review), Graham s Magazine , 

Griswold s "The Poets and Poetry of America," Phila 
delphia Saturday Museum, 1843. 

In New York Evening Mirror. Attributed to Poe. 

Three Visits to the Hotel des Invalides. Second visit, 

1806 (not signed), Jan. 6. 
Three Visits to the Hotel des Invalides (signed E. P.), Jan. 

I 3- 

Translated for the New Mirror horn the French of Eugene 

Scribe. The Price of Life (signed E. P.), Jan. 13. 
Translated for the New Mirror from the French of Louis 

Lurine. The Jailer (signed E. P.), Jan. 20. 
Translated for the New Mirror from the French of La- 

seaux. The Bracelet (signed E. P.), Feb. 3. 
The Pearl of Geneva. Translated from the French of De 

Mirecourt (signed E. K., a typographical error for P.), 

Feb. 17. 
Misfortune of having a Dowry. Translated from the 

French of Paul Merruau (signed E. P.), Feb. 24. 
Parisian Chronicle. __ Translated for the New Mirror from 

the Courrier des tats Unis (signed E. P.), March 2. 
The Oath that Was Kept. Translated for the New Mirror 

from the French of Mark Perrin (not signed), March 9. 
The same (concluded) (signed E. P.), March 16. 
Paris in Robe de Chambre (signed E. P.), March 23. 
The Princess Pauline (signed E. P.), March 30. 
The Professor s Daughter (signed E. P.), April 13. 



Parisian Chronicle (signed E. P.), April 27. 

The Love Letter ; or, A Secret of the Confessional (signed 

E. P.), May 18. 

Parisian Chronicle (signed E. P.), June 8. 
Parisian Chronicle (signed E. P.), June 15. 
Parisian Correspondence (signed E. P.), June 22. 
A Cottage and a Palace (signed E. P.), July 13. 
The Passport A Parisian Story (signed E. P.), Aug. 3. 
The Will (signed E. P.), Aug. 31. 
The Times of the Emperour (signed E. P.), Sept. 7. 
Little Tarts of Prince Bedridden. In two chapters. 

Chapter First, A Dinner by Careme (signed E. P.), 

Sept. 21. 

R. H. Home s "Orion" (review), Graham s Magazine, 


The Elk (tale), The Opal. 
J. R. Lowell s " Poems " (review), Graham s Magazine, 

A Tale of the Ragged Mountains, Godey s Lady s Book, 

April ; B. J., ii. 21. 

The Spectacles (tale), sent to Home, April ; B. J., ii. 20. 
Diddling Considered as One of the Exact Sciences (tale), 

B. J., ii. 23. 

The Balloon Hoax (tale), The (New York) Sun, April 13. 
DREAMLAND, Graham s Magazine, June 1844, 1845 J 

Broadway Journal, i. 26. 
Mesmeric Revelation (tale), Columbian Magazine, August 

1844, 1845. Reprinted in London, 1846. 
The Premature Biirial (tale), some unknown Philadelphia 

publication, August; B. J., i. 24. 
The Oblong Box (tale), Godey s Lady s Book, September ; 

B. J., ii. 23. 

Thou Art the Man (tale), Godey s Lady s Book, November. 
The Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq. (tale), S. L. M., 

December 1844 ; B. J., ii. 3. 

The Angel of the Odd (tale), Columbian Magazine, October. 
Marginalia, No. I, Democratic Review, November ; No. 2, 

Amelia Welby (review), Democratic Review, December. 



THE RAVEN, The Evening Mirror, January 29, 1845; 

The American Whig Review, February 1845; Southern 

Literary Messenger, March 1845; Broadway Journal, i.6. 

FOE. New York: Wiley and Putnam. 1845. pp. 3, 228. 

TALES BY EDGAR A. POE. New York : Wiley and 

Putnam. 1845. PP- 3 22 8- I2mo. 
EULALIE. American Whig Review, with " A SONG " as 

subtitle, July 1845; K . J-> " 5- 
The Purloined Letter (tale), The Gift, 1845 5 l8 45- 
The Thousand and Second Tale of Scheherazade (tale), 

Godey s Lady s Book, February ; B. J., ii. 16. 
Some Words with a Mummy (tale), American Whig Re 
view, April; B. J., ii. 17. 
THE VALLEY OF UNREST, American Whig Review, April ; 

B. J., ii. 9. Appeared in the edition of 1831, and the 

S. L. M., February, 1836, as THE VALLEY Nis. 
Fifty Suggestions (essay), Graham s Magazine, May, June; 

A Chapter of Suggestions, The 0/a/, 1845. 
The Power of Words (essay), Democratic Review, June ; 

B. J., ii. 1 6. 
The Imp of the Perverse (tale), Graham s Magazine, July 

1845 5 Mayflower, 1845. 
The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether (tale), Graham s 

Magazine, November. 
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (tale), American 

Whig Review, December; B. J., ii. 24. 

Reviews, essays, etc., in the Broadway Journal, signed with 

Poe s initial (P.) in his own copy, now in the possession of 

F. R. Halsey, Esq., or otherwise indicated as Poe s. The 

Tales and Poems which had appeared previously in other 

forms, or in other journals, are not repeated here. 

Elizabeth B. Barrett s " Drama of Exile " (review in two 

parts), Jan. 4 and n ; cf. Evening Mirror, 1844. 
American Prose Writers, No. 2, N. P. Willis, Jan. 18. 
"Poems by Sir Edward Lytton Bulwer " (review), Feb. 8. 
Some Secrets of the Magazine Prison-House (essay), Feb. 


Imitation Plagiarism. Mr. Foe s Reply to the letter of 
" Outis," March 8. 1 

"A Continuation of the Voluminous History of the Little 
Longfellow War," March 15. 

" Satirical Poems " (review), March 15. 

Some Passages in the Life of a Lion, March 15. 

Mrs. R. S. Nichols (review), March 22. 

Continuation of a Reply to " Outis," March 22. 

"The New Comedy," by Mrs. Mowatt (review), March 28. 

" Human Magnetism," etc. (review), April 5. 

Conclusion of a Reply to " Outis," April 5. 

Prospects of the Drama, Mrs. Mowatt s Comedy (review), 
April 5. 

" Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities," edited by 
William Smith, Ph.D. (review), April 12. 

" The Magazines " (a short review), May 26. 

Mrs. L. M. Child s " Philothea" (review), May 31. 

Magazine Writing Peter Snook, June 7. 

Anastatic Printing (essay), April 12. 

"The Antigone" at Palma s (review), April 12. 

Street Paving (essay), April 12. 

"Achilles Wrath" (review), April 19. 

"Old English Poetry The Book of Gems," edited by 
S. C. Hall (review), May 17. 

" Poems by William W. Lord" (review), May 24. 

"Plato contra Atheos," etc., by Tayler Lewis, LL.D. (re 
view), June 21. 

"The Coming of the Mammoth," by Henry B. Hirst (re 
view), July 12. 

"Alfred Tennyson" (review), July 19. 

House Furniture (essay), May 3. 

How to Write a Blackwood Article (essay), July 12. 

1 The Broadway Journal headings to Divisions II., III., IV., 
V., of the " Longfellow War " are as follows : 

II. "A Continuation of the Voluminous History of the Little 
Longfellow War Mr. Foe s Further Reply to the Letter of 

III. " More of the Voluminous History of the Little Longfel 
low War Mr. Poe s Third Chapter of Reply to the Letter of 

IV. "Imitation Plagiarism The Conclusion of Mr. Poe s 
Reply to the Letter of Outis." 

V. " Plagiarism Imitation Postscript to Mr. Poe s Reply 
to the Letter of Outis." EDITOR. 


"The Magazines" (short review), July 12. 
" The Drama" (Mrs. Mowatt at Niblo s), July 19,26, Aug. 2. 
"The Chaunt of Life," by Rev. Ralph Hoyt (review), July 26. 
"The Lost Pleiad and Other Poems," by T. H. Chivers 

(review), Aug. 2. 
" The Fortune Hunter ; or, The Adventures of a Man 

About Town." By Mrs. Anna Cora Mowatt (review), 

Aug. 2. 
" Wiley and Putnam s Library of Choice Reading." No. 

XVI. Prose and Verse. By Thomas Hood (review), 
Aug. 9. 

"Ettore Fieramosca," etc. By Massimo D Azeglio. Trans 
lated by C. Edwards Lester (review), Aug. 9. 
Editorial Miscellany, Aug. 9. 
HYMN (Catholic Hymn), Aug. 16. 
Wiley and Putnam s Library of Choice Reading. No. 

XVII. The Characters of Shakspeare. By William 
Hazlitt (review), Aug. 16. 

The Poetical Writings of Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith (re 
view), Aug. 23. 

" Review of Graham s Magazine for August, Aug. 16. 
"Wiley and Putnam s Library of Choice Reading" No. 

XIX. Prose and Verse. By Thomas Hood. Part II. 
(review), Aug. 23, 30. 

" Dashes at Life with a Free Pencil." By N. P. Willis. 

Part III. (review), Aug. 23. 
"Wiley and Putnam s Library of Choice Reading." No. 

XX. The Indicator and Companion. By Leigh Hunt 
(review), Aug. 30. 

"Wiley and Putnam s Library of Choice Reading." No. 

XXI. Genius and Character of Burns. By Professor 
Wilson (review), Sept. 6. 

"Festus: A Poem by Philip James Bailey" (review), 

Sept. 6. 

" Saul, a Mystery. By Rev. Arthur Coxe " (review), Sept. 6. 
" Review of the Democratic Review" Sept. 20. 
" The Prose Works of John Milton. With a Biographical 

Introduction by Rufus Wilmot Griswold " (review), Sept. 

"Wiley and Putnam s Library of American Books." No. 

IV. The Wigwam and the Cabin. By William Gilmore 

Simms (review), Oct. 4. 
"The Broken Vow and Other Poems. By Amanda M. 

Edmond" (review), Oct. n. 


" Historical Sketch of the Second War between the United 

States of America and Great Britain. By Charles J. 

Ingersoll" (review), Oct. n. 
"The Songs of Our Land and Other Poems." By Mary E. 

Hewitt (review), Oct. 25. 
The Power of Words (tale), Oct. 25. 
" Alice Ray ; a Romance in Rhyme. By Mrs. Sarah 

Josepha Hale" (review), Nov. I. 
The Fine Arts, "La Sortie du Bain," Nov. I. 
Editorial Miscellany (Boston and the Bostonians), (review), 

Nov. i, 22 
F. Von Raumer s " America and the American People " 

(review), Nov. 29. 

" Poems by Frances S. Osgood " (review), Dec. 13. 
"Notes on Hudson" (review), Dec. 13. 
Brook Farm (review), Dec. 13. 
Editorial Miscellany (notice of Leigh Hunt), Dec. 20. 

A Chapter of Suggestions. First Part. Opal, 1845. 

The American Drama (essay), American Whig Review, 

Marginalia. No. 3. Godey s Lady s Book, August. No. 4. 

"Big Abel and the Little Manhattan" (review), Godey s 

Lady s Book, November. 


Valedictory, signed E. A. Poe, Broadway Journal, Jan. 3. 

" The Wigwam and the Cabin " (review), Godey s Lady s 
Book, January. 

Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood s " Wreath of Wild Flowers 
from New England" and "Poems" (review), Godey s 
Lady s Book, March. 

Marginalia. No. 5. Graham s Magazine, March. No. 6. 
Democratic Review, April. No. 7. Graham s Magazine, 
November. No. 8. Graham s Magazine, December. 

The Philosophy of Composition (essay), Graham s Maga 
zine, April. 

" William Cullen Bryant " (review), Godey s Lady s Book, 

The Literati, published in Godey s Lady s Book, May to 
October, 1846. 


May. i. George Bush. 2. George H. Colton. 3. N. P. 

Willis. 4. William M. Gillespie. 5. Charles F. Briggs. 

6. William Kirkland. 7. John F. Francis. 
June. i. Anna Cora Mowatt. 2. George B. Cheever. 

3. Charles Anthon. 4. Ralph Hoyt. 5. Julian V. 

Verplanck. 6. Freeman Hunt. 7. Piero Maroncelli. 8. 

Laughton Osborn. 
July. i. Fitz-Greene Halleck. 2. Ann S. Stephens. 3. 

Everett A. Duyckinck. 4. Mary Gove. 5. James Aldrich. 

6. Thomas Dunn English. 7. Henry Carey. 8. Chris 
topher Pearse Cranch (Poe printed " Pease"). 
August. i. Sarah Margaret Fuller. 2. James Lawson. 

3. Caroline M. Kirkland. 4. Prosper M. Wetmore. 5. 

Emma C. Embury. 6. Epes Sargent. 
September. i. Frances S. Osgood. 2. Lydia M. Child. 

t Elizabeth Bogart. 4. Catherine M. Sedgwick. 5. 
ewis Gaylord Clark. 6. Anne C. Lynch. 
October. i. Charles Fenno Hoffman. 2. Mary E. 

Hewitt. 3. Richard Adams Locke. 

The Cask of Amontillado (tale), Godey s Lady s Book, No 


The Domain ofArnheim (tale), Columbian Magazine, March. 
This tale is an enlargement of " The Landscape Gar 

To M. L. S., Home Journal, March 13. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne s " Twice-Told Tales," " Mosses 
from an old Manse," etc. (review), Godey s Lady s Book, 

ULALUME (sub-title, To ), American Whig Re 
view, December ; Home Journal, January, 1848 ; Gris- 
wold, 1850. 

Marginalia, No. 9, Graham s Magazine, January ; No. 10, 


To H. H., Columbian Magazine, March. 

P.Putnam: New York. 1848. pp. 143. I2mo. Repub- 

lished in London by Chapman. 
AN ENIGMA (Sonnet), Union Magazine, March. 


Mrs. S. Anna Lewis s " The Child of the Sea, and Other 
Poems " (review), Southern Literary Messenger, Septem 

The Rationale of Verse (essay), Southern Literary Messen 
ger, October, November. 

To HELEN, To , Union Magazine, November, 



Mdlonta Tauta (tale), Codecs Lady s Book, February. 

Hop-Frog (tale), The Flag of our Union. 

To MY MOTHER, Flag of our Union. 

A VALENTINE, Sartain s Union Magazine, March ; Flag of 
our Union, 1849. 

Lowell s "A Fable for Critics" (review), Southern Liter 
ary Messenger, February ; Graham s Magazine, March. 

Marginalia, Nos. n, 12, 13, 14, 15; Southern Literary Mes 
senger, May to September. 

FOR ANNIE, Flag of our Union-, Griswold, 1850. 

ANNABEL LEE, N. Y. Tribune, Oct. 9; Sartain s Union 
Magazine, January, 1850. 

A Chapter of Suggestions. Second Part (essay), Graham s 
Magazine, May, June. 

"Frances Sargent Osgood" (review), Southern Literary 
Messenger, August. 

THE BELLS, Sartain s Union Magazine, November 1849. 


" About Critics and Criticism " (review), Graham s Maga 
zine, January. 

"Edwin Percy Whipple and Other Critics " (review), Gra 
ham s Magazine, January. 

Joel Tyler Headley s "The Sacred Mountains" (review), 
Southern Literary Messenger, October. 

The Poetic Principle, Sartain s Union Magazine, October. 


ELDORADO, Griswold. No earlier publication known. 

POE. With a Memoir by Rufus Wilmot Griswold, and 
Notices of His Life and Genius by N. P. Willis and J. 
R. Lowell, in four volumes. Redfield, 34 Beekman. 


Street. 1850-1856. (Preface by Mrs. Maria Clemm.) 
(Copyrighted, 1849.) T ne same in three volumes, 1850; 
in four volumes, 1853. 

THE LITERATI : Some Honest Opinions about Autorial 
Merits and Demerits, with Occasional Words of Person 
ality, together with Marginal Suggestions, and Essays, 
With a Sketch of the Author, by R. W. Griswold. New 
York: J. S. Redfield. 1850. pp. xxxix, 607. I2mo. 
(Vol. III. of Griswold s edition.) 

" Henry B. Hirst " (review), Griswold. 

"Elizabeth Frieze Ellett" (review), Griswold. 

"Estelle Anna Lewis" (review), Griswold. 

ALONE, Scribner s Magazine, September 1875. 

Poe s Addenda to " Eureka," Methodist Review, January. 


X-ing a Paragrab (tale). The text follows Griswold. 

The Sphinx (tale), Griswold. 

Von Kempelen and his Discovery (published not earlier 
than 1848), Griswold. 

Lander s Cottage. Sent to Metropolitan before 1848. Once 
accepted, then rejected by the Metropolitan. Mentioned 
in Poe s Correspondence, 1848-49. Griswold. 

Poe s Introduction to " The Tales of the Folio Club," in 
MS. in the possession of Mrs. Wm. M. Griswold, of 
Cambridge, Mass., printed for the first time in this 

Poe s Autobiographic Memorandum, 1841-1843? 


THE SKELETON HAND, The Yankee, August 1829. 

THE MAGICIAN, The Yankee and Boston Literary Gazette, 

December 1829? 
UNPUBLISHED POETRY, The Yankee, December 1829. 


To ISADORE, Broadway Journal, 1845. 

THE VILLAGE STREET, Broadway Journal, 1845. 

THE FOREST REVERIE, Broadway Journal, 1845. 

ANNETTE, Broadway Journal, I845. 1 


THE FIRE LEGEND, Southern Literary Messenger, July 

1863. From an unpublished MS. of the late Edgar A. 


Lavante. Philadelphia: William S. Young, No. 317 

Race Street. 1847. 




This book is due on the last date stamped below, or 

on the date to which renewed. 
Renewed books are subject to immediate recall. 



DEC26 64-lPM 

JUN 9 19 

LD2lA-40m-ll, 63 

General Library 

University of California 



* x ^>